The Information Generation

RadioSilence, by Tatiana Plakhova

Our world is all but digitized. Analogue is becoming a thing of the past, and will likely die with my parents generation, or my own. It will be seen as something collectible, cool, retro, and unique, but nevertheless, dead. Yes, people still flip through books, buy records, and learn instruments, but for how much longer? The pushing of tactile buttons, pulling of levers, and turning of knobs, is about to disappear. Soon the distinction between being online and offline will fade. There will be no offline, and thus, no online. Everything and everyone will be forever connected. If we want to disconnect, we’ll have to painstakingly go out out of our way to do so.

If you are like me, then you feel amiss when you can’t get online. Usually it happens when visiting parents, grandparents, or rural friends. On one occasion – before I bothered to turn on my laptop – I asked someone what their Wifi password was. They stared at me blankly for a few seconds, before uttering, “Wifi?” The horror. The horror.

But, honestly, there is a certain anxiety that comes over people in my generation when we can’t connect. Technology critics and primitivists usually claim that this anxiety is innately bad, and stems from my generation’s need for instant gratification. But what’s so bad about instant gratification? Should I have to work to find the information I want, or need, when it is conveniently at my fingertips? Shouldn’t information be easy to access?

Then again, maybe I am too “connected”. Half of my daydreaming is spent in my head, the other half online. To an outsider – typically someone over forty – it must look strange. Blue links highlighted. Flashing windows. Twenty tabs open. Music playing. Headphones on. Lukewarm coffee on desk. Occasionally, I feel less like a person, and more like an amoeba that feeds on tweets, notifications, and followers.

Enter my parent’s generation. The first thing to notice is their sociality. Older people are always talking, or always listening. Rarely are they absorbed in some task on a computer, hunched over with a stiff neck and squinting eyes. (That is, unless they are trying to find the vexatious, “forward to all” button). Older generations can get lost in a conversation; yet, their conversations lack something. They tend to get stuck on bits of information that, for the life of them, they cannot remember.

Who was that actresses name? What was that restaurant in San Francisco called? How can we get to the freeway from here? Questions always linger when talking to older people. This isn’t because they have bad memories – though they certainly can – but, because they aren’t whipping out their phones, or flinging open their laptops. There is an odd elegance to this. I have to remind myself that for my parents, the world isn’t about information, or, “instant gratification”. My mother spends her time watching classic films, visiting family, and reading books. My father rides his mountain bike, shoots guns, and fixes things. I can’t tell if he particularly enjoys this last activity, as much of the time it is littered with “fuck”, and “god damn it”. (Edit: he claims he only cusses when he can’t fix things).

My parent’s generation have a laudable simplicity about them. They are sometimes frustrating, asking us to hook up their internet for fix their computers, but those things are essentially foreign to them. Our parents don’t really belong in the digital world, they just visit it. They are record players, and we are iPods. Besides, I can’t pretend I’m entirely used to our digital world either. I still remember the days of connecting to the internet through screeching analogue dial tones, so that I could work on my geocities website into the tiny hours of the morning, or until someone called and I was disconnected. Sometimes I have to remind myself that my generation was the last to grow up before the Internet became truly monolithic. From now on, children will grow up in the shadow of that monolith. While it may be frightening, I think younger generations will be fine. My niece and nephew’s computer skills already rival their parents, and none are over the age of six.

So, how is my generation – the information generation – handling things? How can we begin to answer this question? Information is violently changing our lives. The Arab world has ignited with social protests, partially catalyzed by social media. WikiLeaks has released over 400,000 confidential government documents. The Occupy movement is still going strong, with rallies being organized online. The first digital currency showed signs of being practical. For the first time, Artificial Intelligence is being used widely, (even if it is rather silly). And, somewhere, a twenty-two year old kid writes a blog post about all of it, which could be seen by millions. (I said could.)

My generation is starving for useful, thoughtful, intelligent, and inspiring information. If we want to learn how to do something — anything — we can google it, and be on our way; there’s even a how-to-do-everything podcast. If that weren’t enough, Wikipedia has an entry on just about everything, with all links eventually leading back to philosophy. We can learn about the fundamental stuff of the universe – or whatever philosophers ramble about — with a few mouse clicks. For those of us that don’t like reading, there are infographics and videos on every topic out there. When we aren’t absorbing information, we’re expressing ourselves by the millions, through sites like DeviantArt, Flickr, Tumblr, Etsy, WordPress, and more. Perhaps we are too entitled, too lazy, or too impatient, but, we aren’t stupid. I don’t accept that. We have access to more information than any other generation, and we are using it. We are becoming smarter with the information we are using, even if much of it drips through the cracks of obnoxious YouTube videos and incomprehensible memes. Perhaps I’m being sophomoric, but I think the internet is fundamentally good, because knowledge is fundamentally good. Maybe that crazy greek bastard was onto something when he said, “The only good is knowledge, the only evil is ignorance”. And, if you don’t know who I’m talking about, just google it.

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253 thoughts on “The Information Generation

  1. dante2k4 says:

    I’m not entirely sure what led you to decide to follow my own blog, but I’m glad you did, because my curiosity at wondering who you were led me to read this post, and I must say it was a pretty fantastic read.

    Your thoughts here mirror my own precisely. I often find myself stopping and thinking about just how far technology has come in OUR generation alone. For example, I read a conversation the other day of two people discussing the visual quality of Ocarina of Time on the 3DS, and it reminded me that when Ocarina of Time was originally released on the N64, I played it on an old black and white 15 inch CRT TV. Can you imagine that today? If I pulled out a TV like that with one of my younger siblings, they’d probably rather just not play at all.

    And the evolution of the internet? Please, do NOT get me started. I still remember when things like Wikipedia, Youtube, and Myspace were all JUST being born. Need help on my homework? Wikipedia’s got my back. Keep in touch with friends? Gotta go hop on to Myspace. The way that site completely changed the way people interact with each other is still astounding to me. And Youtube? Where do I even begin with how amazing that site was when it first came out.

    It’s all so strange to remember how things used to be, before the internet really took over. And I think this newer generation really takes it for granted that we can look up ANYTHING, at ANY time. It’s gotten to the point that, if there’s a skill I want to learn, I no longer need to take classes, I just go online and BAM. Tutorials, both written and visual, by the dozens. On any given subject. The mammoth amount of information available now is incredible, and many people treat it as though it’s been there all along.

    I especially liked your point about how we feel lost when the we get disconnected from the internet. It’s so true. I have so many projects I maintain online, so many communities I participate in, so many games I play….and it’s all tied to the internet. Even offline when I’m writing I’ll still refer to the internet to do facts checking and check a thesaurus to try and discover some new words.

    How strange is that? “I need to use the dictionary/thesaurus, better get on the internet!”

    I used to use a book for that.

    Anyways, sorry this post was so long. I just really enjoyed your article as it’s something that I constantly have on my mind.

    I still don’t know how you found MY blog, but I’m glad you did. I’ll for sure be following your writings on here in the future.

    • jandrewhickey says:

      To be completely honest, I just found your blog via the browse blogs thingy, and I found your interesting/amusing.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post — it is weird to think how far we’ve come, and how the net is so intrinsically tied into our lives. I was browsing craigslist recently, and I think its funny that people are basically giving away huge TVs simply because they aren’t HD. I mean, no one wants an SDTV anymore.

      Oh, and if you are prone to learning things online (rather than taking classes), google “Khanacademy”.

      Thanks for the read. :]

      • Elle Violet says:

        Who even does HD TV’s anymore? It is all computer with internet hooked up to a projector style now.

    • bootrom says:

      I found this link accidently, and what you are writeing here is that, you nothing learned from original unix c, which is later leaded to internet, and todays is completly a diferent thing from looking of starting point, but the main goal is the same that came from ancient cultures.So don’t explain to others how are you smart and how you blog start before this or that.And please, don’t explain what is network and what is noise 😀 it’s make me laught.
      So think before your brain looking trough your eyes maybe not seeing the big picture, and this is not philosophy.

      • I’m reminded of what my son-inlaw said when I told him my job was generating code fixes and enhancements to UNIX. His comment was: “Hasn’t that been done already?” This is the math major who also doesn’t know what a slide rule is. How about going out in the sunshine and sitting on a beach with your bare feet in the warm sand and reading a classic book.

  2. Very interesting post. There’s good and bad in both the old and new schools of thought. Computer technology is wonderful for accessing information and making some jobs easier. As for connecting people, I don’t think anything can take the place of facetime or a phonecall. Facebook tends to create the illusion of connectedness, and the web can lead to endless browsing rather than productivity.

    • jandrewhickey says:

      Yes, It’s rather cliche, but I’m a fan of the “technology is generally neutral” view. (Though I’m sympathetic to the view that the internet is generally a good thing, as I suggest in my post).

      Paradoxes arise from many technological developments. I’ve heard — though I don’t know how true it is — that one of the most popular uses for the printing press, when it first became widespread, was the printing of pornographic material. That very much reminds me of the internet…

      The internet helps us stay connected, keep in touch, and be productive; but, its also extremely easy to get lost in clicking links and popular youtube videos. We now have easy access to both things that are incredibly useful, and things that are incredibly distracting. I suppose the question is how do we discipline ourselves into being “productive”, when it is so easy to distract ourselves. I must admit, I often lose the battle. I jump on my computer thinking, “Today, I’m going to research something, or write something”, and inevitably end up playing games and talking to people on Facebook.

      • focus. says:

        Its will power. Be strong. It is so easy to be distracted.. it really really is.

      • crawlingladybug says:

        That’s exactly what happen to me every time I’m working on my assignment! It’s just hard to keep myself focused with internet turned on. And BBM is annoying as well, I’m thinking about switching to other phone.. *sigh

  3. matchsoul says:

    100% true, all we know and understand but we don’t wana face it,

  4. Shaun says:


    I guess one problem with instant gratification, going back to that, is people tend not to value a result or accomplishment, if they didn’t have to work as hard at it. Besides, can life be really as enjoyable if it’s just rush here, rush there? Or take technology for example. The more we go forward, the more we really go backward. Take the E-Book for example. You need to have an E-Book reader or at least an appropriate app, plus the battery that powers the device used to read the electronic media, whereas with a paper book, all you have to do, is open it and start reading. Now in the time it takes to open the app or power up the old kindle, I could have read five pages from a regular book. It seems to me that’s getting information pretty fast, maybe not as fast as google, but fast enough. My question is: Should we really just go blindly forward, accepting whatever comes down the pike? Or should we use some discernment?
    I think, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

    • Kate says:

      I would like to put up a defence for the physical book. I love what technology gives us on a daily basis, but NOTHING compares to the sense of anticipation derived from picking up the book, gazing at the artwork (often good) on the cover, even caressing it and sniffing that lovely worked paper smell before you actually flip it open and settle down for a good read. And lining your good books up on your bookshelves for others to browse as they will.

      I’ve tried E-Books…not the same.

      BTW, great writing jandrewhickey.

    • Wacky Jokes and Pics says:

      “The more we go forward, the more we really go backward”
      yeah…that seems so true

    • Miss Anderson says:

      I think we do use discernment. I also think that the access to so much information forces us to become very sophisticated in our discernment. There are trillions of bits of information out there that I can consume, how do I pick what is relevant and interesting?

      When I purchased my e-reader, I didn’t just “blindly” accept whatever came down the pike. The same goes for most of my other information and technology choices. I think you are not giving people enough credit for making informed decisions. Your decisions don’t have to be the same as mine. The key factor here is personality: there will always be people who seek instant gratification, whether technology is involved or not.

  5. Great post.. and very true. I agree with you, the internet IS fundamentally good. I mean, its supposed to be good, I can see why some people would argue with that.

    Thanks for posting,


  6. Hi,
    I also blog on WordPress and recently am unable to get the picture to appear in the blog. It DOES appear in the pre publishing stage but not on the blog itself. I have tried many things and wonder if you have an idea of how to fix this problem or who to contact.
    Thanks for your help.

  7. photito says:

    Last night we suffered a power break. A serious one that would last for at least three hours, possibly overnight. The usual stuff went through my head – how will I cook the home made pizza, what will happen to the food in the fridge, do we have enough candles?

    However, what I hadn’t anticipated was the reaction from my kids (6 and 9) and their sleepover friends (6 and 8). It is no exaggeration if I say that hell broke loose in my living room!
    The sleepover friends tried desperately to explain that they have a ‘button’ in their house which fixes the problem. We have the same button, I explained, but this power cut was caused by a delivery van snapping some cables on his way.
    So, what did we do? We had an improvised picnic consisting of crab sticks, crisps, cheeses and olives, and decided to play ‘the animal game’ in front of the fireplace. In short, my husband gave the kids three clues to which animal he was thinking of, and they got a point if they got it right. After two and a half hours the lights came back on. The christmas tree started glowing again. I threw the pizzas in the oven. The kids? They collectively called for the lights to be switched off and for the game to continue. Their need for Nintendo, Wii, Tv, internet and the rest of the 21st century had magically disappeared. At least for one evening!

    Thanks for your interesting post on a subject that sometimes worry me as a mother.

  8. Bruce says:

    I’m a Dad, therefore an oldie (cringe). I think the net is a good thing but hopefully we are in a transition period where it doesn’t become everything but remains a useful tool. My kids are 19, 16 and 14. Things I worry about is my kids dependence (addiction) to social sites and lack of manners when it comes to normal conversation. They don’t even seem aware that I’d like more than 20 secs of their attention and some eye contact when I talk to them; they are too interested in the next amazing status update from one of their on-line ‘best friends’; ie; ‘I just ate dinner and burped’. It seems that when at home, it is not just with your family, but everyone. This dependence on the continuing contact makes me wonder at their own independence and I see signs of this in their behaviour.
    A couple of months ago I had an unusual but welcome experience. I bumped into a girl who is friends with my 14 yr old son. I know her and family. We chatted for about 15 minutes, mostly of her school studies and as yet, unformed plans for her future. It was great to have such a talk and this was without the comfort of a cell phone in her hand! If she owned one, she did not need to quell her social fear by checking the screen constantly.
    I fear that we will have a generation of kids who’ll be experts on Facebook but dismal in their school exams. Language also seems to be heading for the bottom; I’m no angel but on-line swearing leaves me for dead, and that includes females.
    As for e-readers, I see the advantages but I’ll hang on to a tattered and torn novel to read for as long as I can. Lying in bed, squinting at a screen, just doesn’t do it for me.
    I like your post, it continues the ongoing questions raised by the infiltrating internet.

  9. ishg says:

    I’m a total internet nut, ever since the days I got introduced to BBS and mIRC. I’ve followed and worshipped online app pioneers with the same fervor some of our parents might have had for the pop icons & rock stars of their time.

    At 26, the one thing that’s my pet peeve about our generation is whenever my friends and I would huddle during a night out, and after 10 minutes of chitchat, everyone would have their heads bowed down, texting and surfing away with their smartphone apps. What’s up with that? What ever happened to good-old social networking in the flesh? Hopefully, the great art of face-to-face conversation won’t be a lost one.

    I guess we’re the generation in between — we’ve seen the best and the worst of the “offline” and “online” worlds. Interesting.

    • angelasoelzerragosa says:

      I know exactly what you mean about people online on their smart phones or even worse… texting others when we’re out together socially; they may feel it’s acceptable but I think it’s plain rude for any generation to do this. I mean, I feel like saying, “why didn’t you just stay home?”

      • @David_R8 says:

        @ishg & @angelasoelzerragosa

        I was waiting for someone to raise this point. On a recent trip to Paris I noticed that over the 10 days I didn’t see a single person using a smartphone while they were in the social company of another person. Sitting at lunch, dinner, in the park, it didn’t matter. They may have been while they were waiting for their mate to arrive but when they did the phone went away into a purse or pocket and not left on the table.

        Sherry Turkle wrote an excellent book “Alone Together” where she elaborates on these issues and more. Check this link to her speak at TEDx

  10. Very enjoyable blog. With a foot in both pre and post I do feel that instant info is great and contains much for the good: but what are we doing with it? If it’s to clarify some other matter or update on what is appears to be really going on in the world, then for me, that’s fine – but very little of it is actually knowledge ie learning and putting into practice. Gratification has its limits. We get stale.

    On the social thing, don’t get me started. At my age I just see us looking down the mouth of a loaded gun and thinking ” I wonder what will happen if I pull this”. We are more or less social animals. Our body languages, vocalisations, smells, have always been he basis for our communication. We are almost accidentally trying to replace so much of this with a ‘oneness’ of thoughts and can only let the whole thing play out as it may.

    Huge sci-fi scenarios run in my head concerning groups of ‘friends’ from one social network starting some sort of aggressive behaviour towards another simply because it’s gratifying to be able to mind manipulate from a keyboard or with a stylus because there is so very little nuance available thro this form of communication. I do anticipate real social trouble coming up whilst the connected get more connected and the less connected become very much ‘the other’ and alien. We live in a time of social unrest and great unemployment. Most of the unemployed are going to be the young and connected who are loosing so many of the physical interpersonal social skills that make them part of the larger, all age group, all ability society. And much more employable as jobs stand at the moment. Watch this space over the next 25 years.

  11. Nikki says:

    What a fantastic post. You nailed it all, especially the bizarreness between the generations. I can’t count the times my grandma has ambled past my room, stopped, and turned to peek in and say, “You’re STILL on your computer? What are you DOING?” The fact that we pretty much have the world at our fingertips is something that I think escapes a lot of older people. Hell, it escapes me a lot of the time. When I do think of it, I get a bit scared of how much time I spend here — technically, it’s not even a physical place to BE — and I have to get out of the house.

    Nothing beats old world, visceral experience. But I maintain that there’s nothing wrong with sharing the best of it digitally. More people, more information, more connection. That can’t be a bad thing.

    Gorgeous post. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

    • jandrewhickey says:

      Thanks. I’m taking your observations, (and others), into account, and will be writing a follow up post. :]

      • First, let me say how impresssed I am at the amount of comments this post has garnered AND how long many of them are! I mean WHOA chatty much?!

        I am a 45 yr old “cusper”, as I call my generation. We have always been at the end of one way of life and at the start of a new one. So we get all the rough patches and angst of letting go fo the old, the bumping our heads and skinning our knees as the new ways are honed.
        It is amazing how fast technology has evolved over the past 100 years. I mean they used wagons and horses for centuries, then BAM…airplanes and cars appear with in years of each other.
        I love being able to call my Mom from wherever I am to tell her, in live time, what a wonderful thing I am doing or seeing. I like being in touch with people who would otherwise be lost to me, or just memories or strangers the next time we see each other. I love being able to teach people I have never met the things I have been learning and figuring out via my daily blog.
        They only thing that we as PHYSICAL HUMAN BEINGS have to remember is: there can be no new information or things to share if we do not leave the “connection” and go out to phyically do somethings.
        When I ma with other people, doing whatever, work, family time, a night out, my phone gets put up. Who and I there to be with? The people I can see and touch, OR the virtual world that will be there when I am finished having a great time I want to share.
        I think as Homer so wisely said A happy median it what makes the best life. Balance of doing stuff and sharing stuff is what we will have to have if the internet is to stay the useful, fun and (mostly) good place to “be” that is is now.
        Info at my fingertips is GREAT! And being in touch with people from other places on Earth is nothing short of magic to me, still!
        Fantastic post!!!! Glad I got to read it and comment! AmberLena

  12. valentinedee says:

    EXCUSE me? lol. The over forty-generation? If it wasn’t for the over forty generation, you wouldn’t even be using any technology. Who do you think invented it?

    Tsk, tsk. I could rattle off over a dozen names, or perhaps even fifty, of men who were “the outside generation” who invented everything you’re using today. And they weren’t in their twenties when they’ve reached the pinnicle of getting there.

    Your generation wants to move and grove and can’t get the information fast enough? Your generation is starving for it? OH really? Well so were the men who invented the airplane, the car, the light bulb, the phone, and yes, the computer and the television.These men were eager and starving for information–they were eager and starving to invent and to create. If not for them–those men who did it when they were over forty–you’d be writing this with a stone.

    Sorry, dude. Your take on technology needs a change of perspective. You write it well, but . . .


  13. cpmondello says:

    I have never been able to put into words, such a simple explanation of my life, even though I am 42 and my bed has become my “desk”…so much more comfortable using a lap top than a desk top. 🙂

    “Then again, maybe I am too “connected”. Half of my daydreaming is spent in my head, the other half online. To an outsider – typically someone over forty – it must look strange. Blue links highlighted. Flashing windows. Twenty tabs open. Music playing. Headphones on. Lukewarm coffee on desk. Occasionally, I feel less like a person, and more like an amoeba that feeds on tweets, notifications, and followers.”

  14. Frankie says:

    I think it needs to be said that people could become too reliant on technology. Too much artificiality in our lives also makes us disconnected from the natural world. The internet can be used as a tool for good, or it could become controlled by corporate greed and used to spread disinformation. The writer Kurt Vonnegut called such information FOMA – or LIES, to put it another way.

    The Orwellian power of the internet is literally enormous and terrifying.

    As for smart phones I am still resistant to them. It still makes me cringe when people Google in front of me in the middle of a conversation. Maybe it is just a generational thing, but it makes me uncomfortable.

    I think I would agree however that on the whole, the internet has so far been a powerful tool for educating and enlightening people! We should never assume that it will always be that way, though. The moment we stop being vigilant a few people in positions of power start to introduce things like the SOPA bill…

  15. minlit says:

    Excellent points, well presented. Clearly your connectedness gives you a written presence that belies your years.
    My only real worry about this dependence is that our systems are so fragile in the face of many things – environment most of all. And when / if it all goes down, I hope there are enough people still running Information 1.0 and 1.1 (books and radio) to remind us how to rebuild the damn thing! Even now, my connection is so intermittent that it will take me several attempts to post this comment.

    • jandrewhickey says:

      Haha. Well, since your connection isn’t all that reliable, I’m even more appreciative of the comment.

      I also wonder what would happen if something catastrophic happened, and we had to “rebuild”. I definitely don’t think we would be set back too far… I mean, even during the Arab Spring, when various dictators were attempting to “shut off” the internet, people were still able to connect.

      Like they said in Firefly, “You can’t stop the signal”.

      Thanks a lot.

    • ishg says:

      I remember being stumped when my sister told me she had a tough time teaching her now 12-year old kid how to read an analog watch. A WATCH.

      that’s a very interesting thought — yeah, what if it all goes down? anybody knows how to use an abacus?

  16. One question – Does access to information necessarily mean that people get smarter or is intelligence something other than having access to instant information?

    • jandrewhickey says:

      An excellent question, and something I will attempt to tackle more in depth in my follow up post.

      I would say that information doesn’t necessarily make people more intelligent, but I think it generally does. Of course, we would have to define — in some form or another — what we mean by “intelligence”, which would be a huge philosophical endeavor in itself.

      Still, I think the fact that they have to re-adjust various IQ, because people are constantly scoring higher and higher on them, is at least anecdotal evidence that we are moving on the right track.

      • “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains”, a recent book by Nicholas Carr, seems pretty relevant to this question and the overall topic at hand – might be worth a read if you haven’t stumbled across it previously.

        The imprecisely defined nature of IQ aside, re: IQ scoring re-adjustments, I wonder if there’s just an SAT-style effect happening over time, meaning, if people are just studying and practicing strategies for tests originally designed to gauge innate abilities.

        If that were the case, it wouldn’t be evidence of average fluid (or crystallized, or any other form of) intelligence improving, just that the booming industry of test prep like Princeton Review has been doing a good marketing job…

      • It’s not information that makes us intelligent. Our ancestors used critical thinking skills and practical experiment, not trillions of pieces of information, to invent felt, linen, levers, tools, agriculture, beer, glass, etc.

        I have students who know how to locate all kinds of information on the web but who cannot change a car tire or plant a garden. They are not unintelligent, but they cannot apply the theory of this information to the more empirical physicalities of so-called “real life.” What they lack are critical thinking skills, which are developed largely through philosophical discussion, genuine analysis and synthesis, and hands-on experiences.

        Really. Think about fulling. Who came up with the idea that you could soak tufts of wool in urine, rinse it in a clay slurry, and pound it with heavy mallets or your feet until you got a thick, warm cloth that works great for coats and hats? That is genuine IQ at work. If the system goes down, you won’t be able to Google for how to make felt. Do we have the “smarts” to re-invent what is necessary for our basic needs?

        I like to hope we do, but I am secretly glad we haven’t been tested. Thanks for this blog, though–your ideas reflect those of the students I know and of my own young adult offspring.

  17. […] For one: It would be that intriguing black crt monitor with that blinking little cursor on it, I first saw in some warehouse as a kid (Better make that white on black and white on green if memory serves me correctly?). Oh my, how time flies. […]

  18. angiemain says:

    Love your post. I am 35 and people I speak to struggle to believe that I did not actually have access to internet at Uni, that I looked at all my uni materials on paper, making copies, making notes, that i used to have to phone my friends…I actually still remember their telephone numbers roughly 20 years later and that when I went away for a year at Uni communication was by letters and by phone calls! I kind of miss those technology free days but then in other ways within minutes I can read news from all around the world, I can keep in touch with friends, family by facebook, email and I can blog!!!!! Change and progress is good as long as technology does not take over face to face communication! Again top post!

  19. Lorna says:

    I find it fascinating how we change and learn so quickly. In terms of change – most of my friends have been staunch supporters of paper books, and claim to never want an e-book of any sort. But one by one, we all move over to the other side. Happily.
    And in terms of learn: your brain happily copes with you typing on a qwerty keyboard, and it just as happily copes/coped with you typing on a cellphone – the letters were alphabetical, but each key is assigned to three or four letters. On neither of these completely different keyboards do we need to stop and search for the letters.
    Thanks for the interesting read!

  20. Arindam says:

    Everything you wrote is so true. This whole post can be summarize by that one statement of this post, which is “we are too entitled, too lazy, or too impatient, but, we aren’t stupid”. You did a wonderful job here. Thanks for this post.

  21. ScottVeritas says:

    “Perhaps we are too entitled, too lazy, or too impatient, but, we aren’t stupid.”

    Love love love love. Love it.

    I’m eighteen, and analyzing our generation compared to others’ has been a staple of my blog, so I’m loving this because it’s a lot like mine (except, y’know, better).

    One thing I don’t get is how our generation is constantly vilified for being apathetic, or lazy, or whatever. While this is partially true — I read a book (made of paper) about how kids pay less attention to the news now — I think most of the criticisms are illegitimate, and are just the growing pains associated with any generation coming of age. Our grandparents thought the same of our parents, et cetera.

    There have always been the procrastinators and the distracted, and they’ve usually sunk.

    Everybody talks about the banality of Youtube and Twitter. That’s because the layperson too dumb to get published in earlier generations can get published with ease. Few people have much to say, and the few who do (such as yourself) will be largely ignored in favor of the rabble. Pardon my douchebaggery.

    I could go on for pages.

    Of course, I’m just a lazy, apathetic teenager whose doctor warned him for being overweight. It’s almost 5:00 AM and I need to get started on that rough draft for Comp II. Skyrim doesn’t help.

    • jandrewhickey says:

      If this post is any indication of how your blog is — which I’ll be checking out — then I don’t think you should see my blog as being “better”.

      I’m only a handful of a years older than you, but your thought processes sound exactly like mine when I was 18. I think you are definitely right about the “growing pains” that each generation has to adjust to. I hope that as I get older, I’ll remember the banal complaints of previous generations, and act accordingly. In other words, I hope I don’t catch myself saying things like “kids these days”.

      The rabble is attractive. It always has been, and always will be. I don’t mind, but I do hope I can occasionally stand out from the bread and circuses.

      Oh, and on a more personal note, if you are worried about your weight — but still addicted to being lazy — it may help to look into a eating-less rather than working out a ton approach. I was a bit overweight in my teenage years, and moderating my eating habits was much more effective for me than trying to exercise all the time.

      Anyway, just a random thought, that last one.

      Thanks for reading. Feel free to “go on for pages”, anytime.

  22. aFrankAngle says:

    Outstanding post! Instead of mocking different generations, you realize who each are – something that all of us should keep in mind because each offers a look at strengths and weaknesses.

  23. […] the must read post to help reframe the a view on the future.  Share […]

  24. I agree with your optimism generally speaking.

    The internet (and digital age generally) is an overwhelmingly positive thing.

    However, you say:

    ” ……but I think the internet is fundamentally good, because knowledge is fundamentally good.”

    This implies that the internet contains knowledge. Well, obviously it does contain knowledge, but to be pedantic it actually contains information. Information can be good or bad. It can be true or false, biased or unbiased, sincere or insincere, honest or deliberate propaganda, extremely useful or extremely harmful.

    What makes the internet so valuable (a force for good) is that it is owned by us. If there is ‘bad’ information on the net, then it tends to get outed by the public very quickly. Even if we don’t all agree, we can thrash it out in forums and at least be aware that the information is contentious and being debated. It is this *human interaction* aspect which is makes the internet a ‘knowledge enhancer’. We all play a part in sifting through the information and identifying/ discarding the rubbish, which (hopefully) leaves the good stuff.

    And so this interaction is not only far more natural but it obviously serves as a natural safeguard for misinformation and disinformation.This is what has always been lacking in broad-cast media such as TV. Broad-cast and non interactive media has no safeguards against ‘bad’ information. And it actually encourages ‘bad’ information because it is owned and paid for by a tiny minority (advertisers, corporations, governments etc), who wil obviously have their own agendas (who doesn’t, right?).

    Broad-cast, non interactive media represents a one ways street into the brains of millions – a flow of information controlled by whoever owns and controls the networks.

    A recent poll showed that watching TV (such as FOX) actually makes you MORE ignorant. A perfect example.

    The internet will inevitably end up just like TV (only more so) and it will have the same detrimental effect IF we allow it to lose its ‘net neutrality’ and lose its high degree of interactiveness.

    We have to remember that the true value of the internet lies in our ability to plug into each others minds….. we are NOT just plugging into ‘the internet’ itself.

    The internet is the vehicle and reservoir for all this information – it is NOT the source of it. The source (the valuable bit) is us – all of us combined.

    I wrote an article recently which explored some of these caveats in more detail.

    You see? Sharing info among humans….. this is where the power is at (unless you think my article is rubbish! lol)

  25. gaycarboys says:

    FANTASTIC post. Not to mention the fact that you raise some good points, especially the bit about the analogue age dying with us or our parents. It makes you wonder doesn’t it. I heard a little kid ask “how do you turn it on” when he was given a book. Have we really become that?

  26. Joe says:

    Excellent! It’s funny – about the fixing the parents/grandparents computers and such as I do that quite often and always have to remind myself…this is foreign to them!

    I work in the IT field as a computer support person and I speak to a number of older people on a daily basis. It’s amazing to me how fast the information age has come upon us. They say, “when I was a boy and I wanted to talk to a friend, I went to their house…” or “…I didn’t have a cell phone until I was 40…”.

    I’m certainly not an Internet junky, but I’d find it awfully difficult to imagine what it’d be like if all technology disappeared for even just one day.

  27. focus. says:

    Laugh-out-loud.. I find it amusing that you refer to a 22 yr old as a kid! Aside from that I enjoyed your blog and thats one of the great things about being ‘connected’ in this sense. The ability to gain instant access into the insights of other individuals. I completely understand your views on all of this and it saddens me that it might eventually die out. Hopefully not. I love the advancement of technology and the power it gives us just by a simple touch of the fingertip and now with siri, the sound of your voice! I also hate it at the same time that so many of us become dependant on it and that it fuels our own personal gratifications.
    I can’t wait for the day for someone to pull the plug. I’ll watch with a sigh of relief while the chaos unfolds. Sometimes I think people need to be forced away from their computer screens, their iphones and whatch-ma-gadgets and remember to ‘connect’ with life itself. Nature. People. Be connected in that sense.

  28. Purple Mouse says:

    Nice post. Congrats on being freshly pressed,

    I consider myself to be in a crossover generation. I had a rotary phone as a child, now a cell phone, black and white tv, now HD digital, a typewriter at work, now a tablet and even a blog. I’ve used old technology right through the growth periods of current technology. I feel that I am one of the lucky ones to have experienced the development of the knowledge age first hand.

    I agree that the internet is good, as long as you know what sources are accurate. Look at us, we have a blog and can write anything we want. Someone young, let’s say grade 6, reads it and believes it all true just because it is on the internet. Then they pass in a school paper with only opinions of bloggers instead of facts. Instant gratification is there, but is the accuracy?

    • jandrewhickey says:

      There definitely are a lot of “older” people out there that have transitioned astonishingly well given the rapid acceleration of technology. Certainly personality comes into play — some people are excited and willing to adapt, others are stubborn and want familiarity, or the old way. I think the thing that is changing is that younger people are more and more adaptable to new technological developments.

      As for your your skepticism about the legitimacy of information, I have to say I generally disagree. We should be teaching kids how to go about finding information, and how to discern what is accurate. For example, saying “don’t cite from Wikipedia”, is silly, and doesn’t teach kids anything. Instead we should be teaching kids to cross-check references and citations, and teach them how to find scientific articles that back up their particular claims.

      Of course, many Blogs are inaccurate, but I doubt they are any less accurate than random hearsay and stories that children hear anyway.

      • Purple Mouse says:

        “Instead we should be teaching kids to cross-check references and citations, and teach them how to find scientific articles that back up their particular claims.”

        absolutely true…. now if only we could get the public school systems to start teaching these things.

  29. p. says:

    thanks for posting, it was interesting to read it. The Internet is the technological bridge either to collective intelligence or mass stupor. it’s the ones using it and developing it who really make the difference. as long as we don’t lose track of our humanity, keeping some kind of wholeness and harmony between the virtual and the concrete lives, it is truly great. my generation is a bit in between, one foot on analog, the other on digital grounds. but I find this mix quite creative 🙂

  30. truthspew says:

    I’m at the advanced age of 47 and I’ve been around computers and electronics for 35 of those years.

    I embrace the new all the time, from the Android based cell phone, etc. But more, I know how to FIX those things.

    I’m fearless abut technology, have the tools and the knowledge to take it apart and repair a broken LCD, replace hard drives, system boards, etc.

    But I often look back at my life, going from a TRS-80 Model 1 Level II computer to the Windows, MAC-OS, and Linux distros out there and marvel a bit. I can remember writing software in machine code.

    But I appreciate google, wikipedia, etc. for being a fast way to find what you’re looking for at that moment. I see it as an enhancement to human ability.

    • jandrewhickey says:

      Unfortunately, I had to sacrifice accuracy for readability in this post. That is, I had to make some rough generalizations and stereotypes.

      Of course, there are many people — like yourself — that are older than myself that are incredibly adept at using technology, even more than younger folks. I remember meeting someone in class who was my age, but didn’t know how to sign up for e-mail. I was pretty astonished, to be honest.

  31. matthewhyde says:

    Very nice post, although I don’t know how much Ilike the sense of disconnection I get when wifi disappears – it makes me wonder if I’m TOO connected. Maybe that’s my age – although I’m on the internet all the time through my iPhone, but I’m not sure how much I actually trust it (for instance, Twitter was great during the UK riots this summer, but it was also very good at distributing false information). Or maybe it’s just because I’ve been thinking about this sort of thing recently (my post on it is at ).

    Anyway, once again, nice post and congratulations on being freshly pressed!

  32. zenlifefrugal says:

    I can totally relate! I feel the same way sometimes!

  33. Kaleb Israel says:

    Very good write up. I love everything technical. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  34. karmicspins says:

    You’re right, it is incredibly easy to forget that all of this simply didn’t exist a decade ago. I remember those “dis-connected” times! :))
    This reminds me of that ongoing Huxley-Orwell debate. Orwell thought that we’d be in danger because our access to information would be limited; Huxley argued that we would drown in too much of it. Personally, I agree with you that technology (like money) is quite neutral, it’s what you do with it that matters. A lot of kids today are more informed, not just because they can read the news, but because it’s everywhere – friends sharing news articles on Facebook, watching vlogs on Youtube, seeing popular memes that take their inspiration from events in real life (Casually Pepper Spray Everything Cop Meme, for instance). I, personally, can’t thank the Internet enough for its role in helping me learn foreign languages. Because there’s more information, we have to be more discerning about what we take in; but at the same time, we also have an incredible opportunity to contribute to the knowledge exchange in a way that older generations didn’t really have.

  35. Ivan says:

    Wow, great piece man. An artful ending always kicks things up a notch.

    I especially liked your move of defamiliarizing our parents’ generation. They’re as weird as we are, and it would be misguided to take their weirdness for granted as normalcy. Books, for example, are no more “normal” or “natural” for human beings than the internet is.

    Nice job.

    • jandrewhickey says:

      Thank you for the read.

      Yes, I’m always skeptical when people make appeals to “normality”, “naturalness”, or “common sense”.

      I mean, we are a species that have basically evolved to be good at hunting and gathering, and all our adaptations point to that — but we now live in a world that couldn’t be further from that one. The evolution of technology is skyrocketing past any sort of biological evolution we might observe in humans…and the consequences of this are complicated, and interesting.

    • It’s not quite true that it’s no more normal or natural to read books than to use the internet. Books, like every other solid object, reflect light, whereas computer screens project light. Not a small difference, as it turns out. As I understand it, reflected light triggers the logical side of the brain whereas projected light triggers the creative side, which may partly explain why people find it easier to find errors in things that are printed out, for example.

      But also, the eye and the brain evolved to deal with reflected light, because it’s a natural phenomenon. I’m hard pressed to think of a natural situation that generates light in the same way as a computer screen. I think there are a lot of reasons why many health issues are related with computer use and not book use–eye problems, headaches, repetitive strain-type injuries–that you might not notice when you’re 22 but may very well cause chronic problems as you get older.

      As for the weirdness of each generation, I think that’s pretty much true. I don’t mean anything negative by this, but I couldn’t help laughing at a number of spots because some of things written here sound sooooo much like my generation about 30 years ago … and it’s still hard to think of myself as an “older person.” Crap, it still seems sometimes like I was 23 only about 5 minutes ago (although two of my three children are now older than that) … until I read something like this.

      • jandrewhickey says:

        You are absolutely correct regarding the “naturalness” of books vs. back-lit screens… From what I understand, back-lit screens are also pretty terrible for our sleep cycle… I guess since it “tricks” our brain into thinking it is daytime, rather than night time? I’m not sure — you probably know more about it than me.

        Oh, and I already notice the headaches and eye strain. I unhealthily supplement those problems with caffeine, though I’m trying to give up coffee.

        As far as “older person” goes, I just meant older than myself… which is, statistically, a significant amount of people. Don’t worry about feeling old. Be proud of your age, regardless of what age you are. :]

        And, if you (or anyone else) is interested on what our vision is good at, from an evolutionary standpoint, I really enjoyed this book:

  36. I agree with you, guy. The world as it is right now makes me nervous for the future of, because of its relevance to my life, music. There are already guitars that have effects programmed into them and entire bands that function off of keyboard clicks and loop stations. I am nervous that I will soon be doing reviews of an entire generation of daft punk. I’m afraid for the future of organic music.


  37. James LaForest says:

    I think the challenge for the current generations of people developing new technologies is not to meet the needs of a single demographic, but rather to make sure at least some of the tools that will reach the market will be relevant and useful to a wide range of people. Working with older people just a few years ago (and by older, I mean over 65) there were some who were struggling just with email, but who were also, like you, starving for useful information and ways to share their lives with others. There is a sense that the older you get, the more likely you are to be left on the margins – that’s always been true. Developing new paradigms of communication shouldn’t be a narrow enterprise.

  38. Mauria Atzil says:

    Great post! Like everything in life, there are pros and cons.

    Because anyone can post anything on the ‘net the internet can be used as a tool to fuel ignorance. It’s a smorgasbord of uncensored literature that can have good intentions or bad but at the same time, it allows people to broaden their horizons and it can be used as a tool to fight ignorance. It can be used to connect dangerous people together through chatrooms and forums but it can also be used to help people find their family members. Personally, I use it to google any symptoms I may have, diagnose myself, find a remedy, and save money on going to the doctor. Now, if someone were sick or felt like something was wrong with them, I can pretty much diagnose them as long as it’s not something rare and I haven’t even gone to college yet. There’s a wealth of information and opportunities on the internet, sure some of them are bad but there’s a whole lot more good out there.

  39. Analog won’t be going anywhere. Every method of information input into human beings is analog. Information might be stored in digital formats externally, but in order for humans to use that information it must be converted back to analog. You don’t see digital, you don’t hear digital, you don’t feel digital, you don’t taste digital, you don’t smell digital.

    And you don’t produce information digitally either. We still require instruments that convert our analog thoughts into forms that can be stored digitally. Computer mice/keyboards, musical instruments, microphones, etc. are all analog to digital converters. Our universe is 100% analog – we just have digital storage solutions.

    • Sapientius says:

      Spot on, And that’s sort of critical and insightful thinking so often absent from the bovine maunderings posted by the self-absorbed information-grazing generation – vacuous comments like “Who even does HD TV’s anymore? It is all computer with internet hooked up to a projector style now.” when between 40 and 50% of TVs in the USA are still CRT based, not to mention the 49m Americans who live in poverty.

      When they preen themselves at their ability to ‘deal with the information revolution’ I think of my Great-Grandmother – born just after the American civil war, died in summer of love (not participating…): the changes in her lifetime she took in her stride dwarf what they will have to cope with.

      The point about the ‘older generation’ is that they have the discernment to pick and choose from this technological cornucopia: it’s not that we don’t understand this stuff – we just don’t think great swathes of it are worth bothering with. My TV is over 10 years old, but I have an e-book reader: I build & maintain my own computers, set up a secure w-fi repeater to my ‘garden office’ etc but I don’t bother with a smart phone. And like the poster’s Dad I can do all the practical fixing stuff – not just read about it online and hope.

      Previous generations acquired all sorts of general skills and knowledge they could apply to whatever changes came their way: coming generations risk abandoning those skills and knowledge, thinking that information surfing will be be an adequate substitute. It won’t.

      For those who talk patronisingly of how they have have to fix their parents’ computers, we have a saying over here “You don’t keep a dog and bark yourself” 🙂 Even my 80 year old mother only needed showing once how to keep resetting the BIOS on the old PC I’d given her some years before. Must get around to fixing that sometime.

      This isn’t a generational issue: it’s the age old distinction between those who look, listen, learn and do.. and those who don’t

  40. I want to be an LP record generation…

  41. Manoj says:

    The statement about the technical adaptability of the younger generation – how true. I have been working with computers for almost 15 years and yet my son can still teach me a trick or two !!! Thanks for sharing.

  42. HL says:

    I agree = “the internet is fundamentally good, because knowledge is fundamentally good.”
    This is a revolution in Human Kind.
    How ever, you are smarter, but most of your generation is not, by now they are getting autistic. They do nothing usefull with that happymeal of information. (Facebook, for instance has over 50 millions of users).
    What’s wrong with the things your parents do?

    (Sorry for my English)
    Best wishes from Argentina

  43. Jen says:

    Thank u, that sums it all up! 😀 Relatives, the older generation always nags about, the we the younger generation don´t learn anything these days… But you just put your finger on it!
    I also like your interest in informatics 😉

  44. Great read!
    I frequently reflect how the internet influences our society. As active as I am online I cannot deny it has it downfalls if not used properly.

    It has been brought up in various articles that the easy access and the need for instant gratification have weakened our need to utilize our long term memory. We do not have to remember everything but just the keywords to google on our iphone.

    I also feel that we socialize differently than our older generation. More and more people communicate how they feel with a ‘like.’ Rarely do people seem to be capable of forming an opinion beyond clicking a button on facebook or tumblr saying they like something. What happen to the discussions?

    That brings me to another issue. It is becoming rare to see people in public without some form of technology to distract them from talking to people in real life. Our younger generation seems crippled in striking up conversations with the person next to them at their local coffee shop because they are too absorbed in their nooks, laptops and iphones. Why even go outside? Just stay inside and meet someone on idontknowhowtotalkinpublicsokaycomputerfindmesomeone (dot) com.

    Generally speaking, I do believe there are some serious problems if people are not thoughtful in how they use this technology.

  45. I guess it’s dependent upon the generation or how needful a person is of the Internet and other digitized outlets. When I go camping in Caprock Canyon or Palo Duro I don’t have access to the Internet and, frankly, I don’t miss it.

    But I have to be fair. I do take along my iPod and computer on which to write so I still maintain a connection to electronics even though I am somewhat secluded. All in all, I believe your point is valid. We have reached a point where we simply feel bereft if we do not have access to our digital toys. I am not arguing whether this is a good or bad thing, I am simply agreeing it is a fundamental aspect of our life now.

  46. Pia Marie says:

    I can’t agree with you more, but I can’t imagine life without books; the paper cuts, the smell of the library stacks, the lower right part of the page almost turned while still reading the last few sentences.

    I suddenly remembered my Dad. Hahaha.

  47. hcfitzpa says:

    Its not just the internet, but smartphones. I will say though, being in that generation that was the last not to be taught how to use computers (they were just there in school) and among the first to be expected to know how to use them, we sit in a very awkward place. I wonder at children being so connected, because I both remember and still love just sitting and reading a book, away from the distractions of the computer, being immersed completely in something. But, having just recently been on my honeymoon, let me say how wonderful it was to just, connect with one person, with no computer line. The irony of course is that we were in a long distance relationship for years until recently, that could never have survived without video chat.

  48. Great content and beautiful images!

  49. Joe DeGiorgio says:

    I’m a 48 year old that blogs, loves technology, but sees where the little speaking communication within younger generations being an issue. Yes, sometimes I long for the “old days”, if that’s what you want to call the 80s. Only for the idea of a simpler life, maybe taking things a little slower, and yup, actually TALKING to friends and family rather than texting or on-line chatting.

    As much as I love being able to publish my words instantly, I will always endorse the methods of “the old school”. Cause that’s what I am.

  50. ravensmarch says:

    I’m of an age to bridge analogue and digital, and I find myself increasingly concerned about the loss of non-electronic ways of conducting ourselves. Photography, for example, is miles easier in the digital mode, with no need to send film away for processing and 8000 shots in my little cheap camera, BUT the data is corruptible in more subtle ways (you know if you spilled coffee on a negative, but the sector goes bad in the dark…). There is also the bugbear of format compatibility; I can still look at the slides my dad took in 1965, but I have a little trouble reading the stuff I wrote on WordStar in 1986 and saved on 5.25″ floppies.

    Also of some concern are the expectations raised by the increasing capacities of technology. Back before my time, the notion of “labour-saving device” was invented, and the idea was to allow people to produce a their current amount of work with less effort, and thus have more leisure for reading or sports (there being no other diversions at the time). However, that got changed into doing extra work in the same length of time, because that makes more money for the guys at the top. Since the devices get faster all the time, why shouldn’t YOU produce ever increasing amounts of whatever it is you do for a job? We already have legions of people lashed to a Blackberry and effectively on-call 24/7, even on what is called “vacation”; what an unhappy world where that becomes the norm.

    In the end, electronic technology is merely a tool, and I’m not altogether convinced it’s always the best one for a given job. Hammers are excellent in their place, but they’re not a lot of help in novel writing nor brain surgery. Typing LOL is hardly the same as leaning on a companion who is also helpless with mirth at a shared joke. For my part, I revel in the creative aspects of the web and the diverse interfaces with it technology offers (here I am, making loads of words out of it, right?), but when baking a load of cookies with my toddling son, I am content that the limit of technological involvement is the entirely analog thermostat in the oven. So is he.

  51. Dounia says:

    Very interesting post. Although I’m of your exact same generation, and I am an avid internet user, I’m also a little more old-fashioned. I am very basic with my social media usage, people who are constantly whipping out their smart phones in every conversation to check every little question or detail actually drive me a little nuts, and I feel like we isolate ourselves much more than previous generations did, because we’re always connected to some kind of media or technology.

    I’ve had an interesting experience observing my younger brother, who is 10 years younger than me, because he’s never been without internet. Whereas we only knew of internet once we were in middle school, and even then, it was those dial-up connection and you hardly did anything with it, he’s known internet as it is today. It’s interesting to see how different we can be in our outlooks on social media, constant connection, i-pads, doing research etc. It’s fun and frustrating at the same time!

    I would agree with you that the internet is a definitely a good thing, and it’s made a difference it so many ways, but like everything, it also has it’s negative aspects. We need to remember that there are other ways to communicate and there are other things out there too. And I definitely agree with My Camera, My Friend, that nothing can replace facetime or a phone-call. I think sometimes we’ve forgotten how to be social without being connected – either by always using social media to connect, or being constantly attached to smart phones, i-pads etc, when with friends or family.

    I’m sure your post will generate a lot of thoughts and comments, and I think that’s a great thing. This is something that’s part of our lives, and we are the last generation to have functioned without it. That in itself is pretty crazy.

    Apologies for the long comment, but it’s a subject I find very interesting. And more importantly, congrats on being freshly pressed – now the post will very possibly be read by millions (or almost 🙂 )!

  52. mediaudio says:

    Wonderful post and very well written – congrats on being freshly pressed! Analogue will never truly die so long as we continue to use the relatively antiquated receivers and interface devices currently available.

  53. taureanw says:

    I’m 30 years old & I can honestly sit back & say, “Back in my day you couldn’t connect to the internet.” And I wouldn’t be lying.

    I think we got AOL when I was around 13 or 14. Just this morning our power went out & I couldn’t check the net for approx an hour & it felt wrong. Makes me feel very, very old 🙂

  54. successisthebestrevenge says:

    All I can say is wow! As a mom and grandma; you name it we probably have and can use it. Glad my husband is an MCT, MCSE and possesses other credentials as a grandpa who helps train, troubleshoot, and certify generations still learning. There is nothing to fear; because technology this is out future. Either get with it or get left behind.

  55. When doing a film degree as a sabbatical 10 years ago some of the famous lecturers bemoaned the atmosphere conveyed through celluloid as having gone missing with digital recordings. Since then grain was added to replicate atmosphere. Soon they may add the smell of a book to Kindle application … and so on. We learn to become human through our senses. Without stimulation of our senses we are no more than automatons. The work on simulation is speeding up.
    The danger is that technology will have us rather than we having technology to use with discrimination. For the latter you need an objective in life so you can contextualise and apply information to your aims. Otherwise you’re just floating around in the web, a meaningless switchboard with no purpose and no aim.

  56. I have a feeling you’re much younger than I am at 39. However, my mother still gets irritated when I can’t “fix” her computer. Thanks for a great read!

  57. mohanmohan says:

    The internet is replacing universities. 500 years ago, information was stored in libraries instead of hard drives or “clouds”. Faculties of university professors were the specialized application programs that gave guided access to the stored information. Students went back and forth to the library fetching bits of data for their professors and conducting experiments in how to tweak the data into new configurations. Education is now more open to all, but the danger is that misuse and unchecked data can take on the cloak of fact. A self-guided education on the internet is perilous.

  58. colesk says:


    I’m here via Freshly Pressed – so congrats on that!

    However, I’m mostly here because I’m a librarian, and I’m currently studying for my MSc in Information Science and I’m looking for inspiration and ideas about the information society. I agree with a lot of the things you said here, especially the scary thought that my nephew has never not known about the internet, whereas when I was born it just wasn’t there (well, just.)

    One of the things which I’ve recently been studying is the way in which we make personal connections online. For all the talk that we are less connected, or more likely to deceive, amusingly we just project what we do in real liife into the online arena. We are, if anything, more real as a result of not being seen. Some of the time, at least. And it’s that thought which I find really fascinating. I was one of those who grew up experimenting with DeviantArt and LiveJournal and those sorts of things, and the friendships I made there are no less real for being online. It’s just weird that they happened at all, in a sense.

    So, for me, your thoughts were really interesting. Good job.

    PS. As an information professional-to-be, I can tell you that information is not as easily accessible online as it seems to be! There is still a lot of learning to be done 😛

  59. kitkatlikereflexes says:

    Great post! Especially loved the final sentence. 😉

  60. secyure says:

    Love the post, but I laughed out with your “over 40” comment. Being in that range, yet having may of the same ideas made me feel younger than my 40ish years (thanks for that). My first Internet job last millennium required me to teach the masses what the Internet was and how to use a mouse to get there on a dial-up. Today, I teach people how to be smart about it. BTW, we just started a blog trying to teach basic cybersecurity to non-techies. Check us out if you have a moment. Thanks! Audrey

  61. mistrust says:

    Too true! I want my kids to be able to do “analogue” things in case they become too reliant on the digital world. Anyway, I’ve mentioned your blog post on my own blog at and posted a few of my own thoughts there….

  62. This is one of the best reads I’ve found from Freshly Pressed. I have felt the sentiments you expressed in this article, but they’re very hard to articulate; there’s no way I’d have been able to express them as you’ve done here. Your observation about the differences in how people from our generation spend their time in the pursuit of information or the completion of some task they’ve set for themselves, versus how the older generations are talking amongst themselves. You really have expressed with elegance the ‘trade off’ that comes with this technological age. Thank you for writing this, it makes me feel better about all the uncertainty that comes with all this change.

  63. oomphoo says:

    Great article. I think we all know, somewhere in the back of our minds, that the internet will be as “on” as electricity in the future; it’s inevitable. I agree with your general notion that the internet is fundamentally good.

    Thoughts on the idea that everything we know will soon exist only in digital format – stored only on servers? This seems to be the downside of all of this.

  64. Good read. I’m from that generation that saw pagers turn to cell phones as well. I think the digital transformation that the world is going through is pretty awesome. Nano-tech, revolutions sparked, online universities, ‘real’ love discovered, Twifies, status updates….the digital world offers more than it takes.Some people are always uncomfortable with change, but what are you gonna do? Whatever is not growing is already dead.

    In Life it is always forward and never backwards. #ThingsToDealWith

  65. Eva McCane says:

    as much as i love being a part of such a technologically savvy generation, being too connected is also a burden we bear. i find that i’m so caught up in immediate gratification and response that i lose my patience entirely too quickly. it’s nice to sometimes sit back, away from my phone, and just absorb my surroundings. they’re easy to forget about when my eyes are glued to a screen of some sort. thanks for sharing! good stuff.

  66. I’ve been so busy with internet stuff that when I met a friend in town yesterday by chance, I found it awkward to speak to her. That worried me.


  67. societyred says:

    Well said! You may just get those millions of readers on this one.
    My parents bought pong when it came out and I had an 8-track in my car; even though I am clearly several generations in front of you I try to evolve and adapt. One of my favorite aspects of this information age is the window it provides to thought processes like yours. Thanks and congrats!

  68. great post. I am an Interior Decorator and Master Trainer for Home Staging and I have been preaching the difference in how the “under 35 crowd” buys homes. When a seller from my generation, I am 51, says to me “Ahh that’s an easy fix, let the buyer take down the wallpaper and they can paint it themselves”. Well guess what, what is “easy” for one generation may not be “easy” for another. I explain that today’s buyer has been fed quick, high-tech, highly visual stuff. Micro-wave popcorn happens in minutes. My generation is pretty “home savvy” but this new buyer generation are “tech-savvy”. I own and operate Home2Product as well as other companies to help the buyers understand how to “market” their property.
    As a mother of a “wired” son, I do see in the near future that you all will eventually get tired of being on-call 24/7.

  69. shmilyfacephoto says:

    Aaaaaand then I got sucked in to an intense article about bitcoins, and a new world was opened to me, haha. Thank you for making my brain all happy. It was pretty awesome to see what concepts people are coming up with. 🙂

    • jandrewhickey says:

      That article on Wired was really incredible. Even though it was called “The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin”, I can’t help but think they portrayed bitcoin in a positive light…even given its economic problems. I really hope it does take off in the future, and people find a way to make it work. I’m no hard and fast libertarian, but the economic policies of certain governments, particularly the US, do make me worry about our currency.

  70. quasigentleman says:

    Unbelievably well put. I’ve often wondered to myself about whether the pace at which technology is moving is a good or bad thing. you present some real, refreshing logic here on the phenomenon, and have carefully guided me to the former with the whole knowledge argument. Great stuff, writer.

  71. Thoroughly enjoyed that, your thoughts and opinions remind me of my own. Take a look around my blog, there are a couple of physics/engineering posts if you’re interested, the rest is just amusing stories 🙂

  72. tworden says:

    Wow great post. If you think about it, cassettes are only 10-20 years old but they are incredibly hard to find (I just bought a car with a cassette player). It’s interesting how fast technology has replaced itself recently.

  73. A great quote, and my favourite part of the article: “Our parents don’t really belong in the digital world, they just visit it”. Since the the digital world has been created and evolved, our parents have be left behind – unkowing of what they are missing – living in a different ‘reality’.

  74. i believe that we are becoming more stupid in this generation is because we are not listening to our wise parents and grandparent. We have become titillated and entertained with youtube and all of our thousand apps, instead of using the information that is online to a greater goal than just the latest hot singer. Sure our parents may not be techno-wizards, but they have lived longer and faced more challenges than us so we would be stupid not to listen to them.

  75. Did you notice that most people just didn’t write “great post!” on this, because for once WordPress decided to Freshly Press a post that was INTELLIGENT and not just a slide show of some lucky do-gooders trip through the jungle? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good photo, but THIS article is the reason I came onto WordPress to blog. You’re talking about something that, in all honesty, everyone should take a minute to sit back, read and think about. Technology is overtaking our lives in that nothing we do is “old fashioned.” My dad commented how all I am ever doing is sitting on the computer. I got defensive, not because I felt insulted, but because I don’t WANT to be on the computer all the time, it’s just that having all this information at my fingertips to a geek like me is, well, heavenly 🙂

  76. theunbiasedeye says:

    If you’re lucky enough to live so long, you’ll have the pleasure of watching a couple of generations roll around, and you’ll notice that at some point the members of each of them comes to the conclusion of “Ain’t we swell?” You might understand that this insight is nothing that human beings in 1011 didn’t experience.

    Of course, there’s a problem of reasoning over generations, since it’s not clear where one ends and the next one starts. Say you were born in 1985. In what generation do you place one born in 1975 and another in 1995? They are neither your parents nor your children, and yet they have very different frames of reference — which is what it seems you mean by generations.

    Gadget-wise, I think the parents of people my age saw the most stunning changes in their lifetimes — even without personal computers that fascinate us now. If you think the people you find aged are unable to learn how to use a mouse, you are mistaken. Most people my age, like most people your age, are lazy and aren’t crazy about learning much of anything. They could if they wanted to, but like most people, your age or mine, they won’t make the effort.

    Anyway, the Internet is losing a bit of its glow to me. It seemed at one point — maybe when you were too little to care — to have unlimited potential for the exchange of information. It is veering away from that ideal to a vast, ethereal shopping mall run by a few megaretailers that come up high in Google.

  77. I will have to say I agree with you. When I went to college in the early 90’s, I had to look up books and other reading material to get my data. Often I would have to search high and low for it. I would have to write a lot of info via a pen or paper and the only time I used a computer was when I typed out my essay on WordPerfect or Word 95. Now you folks do everything at the push of a button! And you wonder why you can’t live without your Blackberries!

  78. All this new technology blows me away. I feel an even greater disconnect with people nowadays…..but yeah the Internet also has a huge plus, which is that it brings together people who are far from each other.

    • angelasoelzerragosa says:

      That’s a great point! Facebook has been a great tool allowing me to stay connected to out-of-state family members; . Many years ago I would’ve had to pay a fortune in long-distance bills for this luxury.

  79. Love it! I love that you wrote such a great article and were so humble to say:….”And, somewhere, a twenty-two year old kid writes a blog post about all of it, which could be seen by millions. (I said could.)” Congratulations on getting “Pressed”!

    Careful of your stereotypes though, i.e “typically someone over forty”, you will be there soon enough. I am there now and can relate to everything you have said.

    I think, sadly, there is an added reverse discrimination going on. Those not that into the internet for information gathering, social interaction when time wouldn’t allow any otherwise, and daily tasks such as banking etc; actually feel that we are inferior, lacking (some sort of fibre) and risk takers.

    Poor things.

    Thanks for the blog.


  80. Great post! Though technology gives us the luxury of time and energy to do other things, it makes me wonder what will happen if technology one day crashes down, since we are so dependent on it.

  81. joycenyy says:

    while we have access to more information than any generation, i believe only some of us are using it well, many still misuse it. i can’t fully agree that we are becoming smarter with the information that we are using because i run into people misusing information more often than using it right and well. yes, we are indeed becoming more and more lazy and while i cannot deny that google is my best friend and i run to it more than 10 times a day, i sometimes wished it didn’t exist because this access to information overwhelms me. with this glut of information at our fingertips, it takes a lot of discernment to tell what’s valuable information and what’s junk. what about articles like “10 ways to get know if your crush likes you” and useless articles and videos like this that are read by millions of teenagers? is it not simply pollution?

    many times i feel like i was born in the wrong generation, and simply wish that i lived in the victorian era. alas, i’m here, sharing my thoughts and exchanging opinions with someone i’ve never met, and i can only celebrate the way the internet has connected human beings in ways never imagined possible.

    congratulations on being freshly pressed!

  82. flyingfear says:

    That is one of the coolest pictures i’ve seen, amazing spiral of wires and shooting lines! I would love a canvas print of this or a desktop bg.

  83. Hi,
    Enjoyed reading your post and will definitely be following you now. Thanks!
    Having read your post, I highly recommend you to read the book “Me++”. It’s an amazing read and takes a very balanced approach to technological evolution, being both critical at times as well as proposing some blow-your-mind ideas.
    If you fancy, you are most welcome to check out my own blog at We seem to have a lot of topics in common, so I thought you might be interested..
    Thanks again and good luck exploring and analyzing.

  84. Lord Awesome says:

    Although I’m really only three years older than yourself, I hold a quite the different opinion.

    There’s a lack of hands on that comes from all the digital learning people do these days. While it may be practical to read about how to do X, doing X itself may have a different result. There’s a lot that has to be learned from the previous generations that will never transmit into a digital age.

    What about your family history? Is that something that can be googled on a whim? Do you have a life’s Wiki?

    You make mention of people hmming and hawing when trying to remember things, but there’s a bonding that happens between the speaker and listener as both attempt to work to remember that information together.

    If you are serious about exploring this notion of Digital and Analogue, the best place I think I can point you to is the story Zima Blue written by Alastair Reynolds. Don’t search it online, go out to the book store and grab a copy or take it out of the library. You’ll have a good read I’m sure.

    • Igor Ristić says:

      I agree with some of the questions you raise here. The nonverbal aspect of face-to-face communication is HUGE and computer-mediated-communication, while amazing and effective, is really lacking in the nonverbal category. When considering the fact that we communicate much more nonverbal then we do verbally (we don’t talk/write nonstop for 16 hours, but we are always sending nonverbal messages), interactions such as two people having awkward pauses during face-to-face conversations can turn into great meaning making and sharing events.

  85. By reading a post as interessant and clever than yours, i just feel frustrated to answer u this way – i mean alone in my room in front of my computer. Would really enjoy to discuss about that with u – i mean by looking at u speaking, listening, considering things and spending time before answering an unexpected question…

    Something really interesting is happening with the fact that we are discovering a new technology (as important for human societies than fire, agriculture or industry), and for sure it will definitely change the way we live, the way we think and the way we consider the world.

    But something we don’t have to miss – something we don’t have to forget – is the animal part of our human being… it means our body : what it can, how it behaves and what it needs.

    There is so much human informations which are untranslatable in texts, pictures, sounds or videos. Our mistake could be to forget them. I mean : if we consider the informatic bits as the only way to produce, to get and to exchange informations, we will considerably poor the “information spectrum”.

    Hope it makes sens ^^
    And be sure I will enjoy to read ur next post ! Thanks for that !

  86. Jean says:

    “But, honestly, there is a certain anxiety that comes over people in my generation when we can’t connect. Technology critics and primitivists usually claim that this anxiety is innately bad, and stems from my generation’s need for instant gratification. But what’s so bad about instant gratification? Should I have to work to find the information I want, or need, when it is conveniently at my fingertips? Shouldn’t information be easy to access?”

    I am not convinced that one can assume 1 generation is totally different from an “older” generation. I have a niece, she is 25 yrs., university educated, got an engineering degree and has a job as a trainer, software person for geological modelling software. So she is technically savvy yet she and her boyfriend (same age) an engineer just haven’t gotten around to getting a faster computer. They just place their priorities elsewhere. No information is not always at your fingertips . Not everything is digitized. Just too costly and publishers want to make mmoney so they charge fees.

    To make information and technology accessible for instant connection and instant results, requires alot of background work to make it available.

    To save money I just haven’t gotten a cellphone yet. What for? Do I really need instant connection so often? Do my friends and family need to hear all sorts of trivial conversation by cellphone from me so often? They’ll probably disconnect me. 😀

    If we as consumers expect instant gratification, then if we are in jobs and roles that we have to respond in a decent, organized manner to the virtual requestor over the Internet, then we have to step up fast to the game. Not all services and products can be provided like that at all.

    Are we all so swift, caring and competent like that to respond to everyone, faceless strangers/customers like that?

    Sucks up alot of time to be connected and responding to never met strangers online (and many we never will).

    Time for supper! Food cannot ever be virtual for us. 😀

  87. corlosky says:

    Fantastic post! This is a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. At the beginning of this year, 2011, I was still using dial up on computer that was over twelve years old. Now, I have a laptop, which I spend most of my day on doing school work and monitoring two email accounts, a Facebook, Google+, and three blogs; my parents upgraded to a brand new computer, hi-speed internet, and wi-fi; I have an iPod touch that I use for all my music needs, my distractions by mindless games, and anything else that I can possibly use it for; and an iPhone, which is more for business-type interactions and apps like reading newspapers, keeping in touch with project partners, and things like that. I even made a Twitter account, which I swore I would never do a year ago. And being so connected has allowed me to learn so much and make better connections to classes and hold better conversations, as well as connect with more people with similar interests.

    At the same time, I’m a bit horrified at the amount of time I spend in front of my computer, or just in front of a screen in general. Reading a novel is something that, though I’ve tried, I cannot convince myself to do on a screen. And I found that I needed a break from typing out my papers. My writer’s block went away when I switched back to paper and a pen. I realized I haven’t really gotten out and walked around in a while because I’ve been so engrossed with the pixels and keys and buttons in front of me. I’m going to try to break that cycle and live more in the analogue world as opposed to the digital, if you will.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  88. Sony Fugaban says:

    This article is absolutely enlightening. Somehow, you have cured me because of you have answered some religious-related questions which are quite complicated so to speak. Being an educator in a school who doesn’t embrace (that much, I repeat that much) the digital world, means an everyday struggle. I’m still having a hard time convincing my Department Head (DH) to allow me to officially use my email (that basic, I repeat that basic) as a tool for my classroom instruction. I am supposed to use that email to accommodate exams and other activities of the students instead of using a paper since we are using computers in the lab for most of our activities. It’s just unfortunate that the school is supposedly a computer school; however, there are policies that seem opposing to its very nature. Well, let’s not use this space to mull over it. What’s important is I got the message; I got the point. I could use your ideas here to reopen my point to my DH so that she can allow me to maximize the possibilities of making things a lot easier than she think it already is. The bottomline is, I am completely with your view on the this so-called information generation. This is something genius!


    Your article’s promotion to Freshly Pressed is, beyond question, well-deserved. CONGRATULATIONS!

    • jandrewhickey says:

      Wow. I’m pleasantly surprised that my post could have such positive implications.

      If your DH is open, and is willing to listen to evidence and sound reasoning, I’m sure you’ll do just fine. Technology can be an amazing tool in helping teach, as long as we use it correctly, and guide kids in using it. :]

      And, thank you.

  89. newsy1 says:

    It must be the laws of nature. Every generation seems to think it is better, brighter, smarter, more forward thinking and tech savvy than previous generations. It’s probably true with the tech savvy part as technology advances quickly but the better, smarter and brighter part? It’s not always the case. Great post.

  90. Sony Fugaban says:

    This article is absolutely enlightening. Somehow, you have cured me because you have answered some religious-related questions which are quite complicated so to speak. Being an educator in a school who doesn’t embrace (that much, I repeat that much) the digital world, means an everyday struggle. I’m still having a hard time convincing my Department Head (DH) to allow me to officially use my email (that basic, I repeat that basic) as a tool for my classroom instruction. I am supposed to use that email to accommodate exams and other activities of the students instead of using a paper since we are using computers in the lab for most of our activities. It’s just unfortunate that the school is supposedly a computer school; however, there are policies that seem opposing to its very nature. Well, let’s not use this space to mull over it. What’s important is I got the message; I got the point. I could use your ideas here to reopen my point to my DH so that she can allow me to maximize the possibilities of making things a lot easier than she think it already is. The bottomline is, I am completely with your view on the this so-called information generation. This is something genius!


    Your article’s promotion to Freshly Pressed is, beyond question, well-deserved. CONGRATULATIONS!

  91. arbohl says:

    Thoughtful post. Hopefully a twenty-two year old kid could get a million views! Freshly pressed is a good start! I think you have a point about using the information we have while we have the capability. The unfortunate thing sometimes is that people are becoming so reliant on videos and YouTube that were losing an appreciation for literature. I agree that our generation isn’t stupid. In fact, I think a lot can be said for the way were headed. I just have to wonder about the ways we can keep the good things from the past as well.

  92. Cave Story says:

    Yup, information should be easy to access 🙂

  93. Igor Ristić says:

    Very interesting post!

    I’m a graduate student in communication specializing in social and mass media, so I am interested in the digital future as well. While I agree with you the digitization will only continue to increase, I hope you are wrong when you say that channels such as books will disappear and that our world will become so intertwined with the digital world that it will be hard to disconnect. Ironically my blog post today was about the importance of reading and while I state in the post that I am not necessarily advocating for reading of traditional paper-format items, I also say that there is a novelty factor to actually holding a book (or a newspaper) that we can never achieve with a screen and with buttons. Texture and touch are more important than a lot of people give them credit for.

    I also think that digital media will continue to grow exponentially, but it will not become so powerful as to eliminate books or other nondigital forms of interaction. The digital information sharing is such a success because it allows us to accomplish basic human needs of communication that we have had forever, and those basic human needs will continue to be met as much by the offline world as they will by the online/AI/etc. world in the future. This is especially the case for the “global south” countries who even today are far behind because of the digital divide. Sherry Turkle from MIT has a very interesting book, Alone Together, in which she discusses this topic as well, especially the AI portion of it all.

  94. Joe Labriola says:

    Ah, the exponential power of processing.

  95. igjepara says:

    Great post.. and very true. I agree with you, the internet IS fundamentally good. I mean, its supposed to be good, I can see why some people would argue with that.

    Thanks for posting,

  96. I mean, I will let her read your article first.

  97. arief3000 says:

    Very good write up. I love everything technical. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  98. […] blog that i picked is The Information Generation. The first reason why I picked this blog is because, first the title had captured my attention. […]

  99. Carolina Acosta says:

    Todo Momento Es Mas Completo Con Una Sprite

  100. karlsangabriel says:

    Nice post! I am in IT but I decided to stay “offline” as much as possible after watching the movie Surrogates. 🙂

  101. MasterMind says:

    Hi…. your post was freshly pressed so I found it and on clicking it open read the word philosophy which is my subject so I simply could not just move on without reading it.
    I am in my late 50s so that makes me possibly of your parents’ generation though truth be told I don’t feel a day over 30 and possibly behave like one too. I’m obsessed about my computer and am on it the whole day …except when I have to do some of the house work which I just do very quickly and in a can’t be bothered fashion just so I can come back to my little office at home and be doing what I love best … and write.

  102. Kontraktor says:

    nice post…

    salam kenal

  103. Sherri says:

    I enjoyed your post. Very well written and thought out. What of us in-betweeners, the 40/50 somethings who can google and use our phone GPS navigation, but still like hardback books and the quietness? How do you find God with all the noise?

  104. wangstan2011 says:

    Thats a very interesting and Educative Post,well if asked Technologies still has along way to go innovations every other day you buy a TV to day tomorrow there is another even better on,but also making us very lazy in away

  105. Came across your blog via wordpress homepage as I wanted something new to read. Very interesting and nothing like other blogs currently on wordpress

  106. Pelsjas says:

    damn right.

  107. Great article, very insightful. It seems like instead or making a judgment call on youth being heavily reliant on technology, you make observations and ask questions. Thats one angle this whole digital revolution has that older people cant tear apart with their cynical conclusions about computer over usage: we ask questions and then learn the answer. Thats something, even the great loud mouth revolutionaries of the 60s cant beat us in…we dont have to make up excuses for justifying political sides or base opinions off half truths. We have the ability, means and know-how to find the truth, quickly. The problem for the next 25yrs worth of newborns will have to face is this: what do we do with it and how do we handle it?

  108. sabihakram says:

    nice blog. my parents can never figure out what I am doing on the computer all the time, i learn from computer, I pass my exams through it, I play here, I connect to lots of people from here, I do lots of things from the chair right in front of my computer…….life has really changed, my parents tell me on and off….


  109. Love the top image. You might like my post, “Beyond Information.” Enjoy!

  110. Excellent post–so perfectly lays down both sides of the argument. Good humor too…

    The power of tech is amazing now–and provides us much opportunity on a global scale. This I utilize and myself enjoy.

    But then, as a holistic practitioner, I have unbalanced, ungrounded clients come to me who have bad posture, back aches, eat junk food on the run, and never see the light of day or get fresh air–as they are chained to computers and desks–etc.–and they are looking for help in feeling better and getting healthier. They are disconnected from themselves.

    The first step is to bring balance into their lives. We start by saying, for every two hours on a computer spend 30 to 45 minutes out in nature, standing and moving the body..and so on. Simple but makes a world of difference.

    So–everything in BaLaNcE. And with the extreme of technological advances in our technology revolution, it takes some conscious intention and physical activity to get and stay balanced–and work and play with all of our new gadgets and gizmos and international connections and access to lightning fast information that is unending. But it is possible and worth it. The best of both worlds.


  111. 008 says:

    totally agree with your post, although sometimes I think that because we have these ‘instant gratifications’, we’re also taking everything for granted. (I’m glad you used the word ‘information’ and not ‘knowledge’ though.) Whilst the older generations sound really naive, at the same time I also think that our generation is missing a lot. I wish I can say that everything can be found on the internet, but to be honest reality is much richer and too raw to be ‘mimicked’ into another dimension such as the internet. Sure, life is definitely more than just being ‘connected’.

    And so actually, we may even be more naive than we think we are 😛 In fact, me thinks ‘living’ on the internet can be bordering to dangerous because it means that we’re so used to organised information, we might not be able to deal with the real Reality itself.
    Anyway. Bottom line is, don’t you think it’s kinda sad to live on the net, for the net and by the net? :/

    • need depth says:

      This was, by far, the wisest comment so far. While it’s nice to have instant access to information there is surely a lack of depth and knowledge. Having an instant answer is vastly different than knowing something. And herein lies the problem. Internet “skimmers” have instant answers and information and then promote themselves as “knowledgable” while sadly, they possess little or no knowledge about the subject they believe they have the answers for. They may hold the information but they lack the experience. I find my life much more fulfilling by being knowledgeable about the topics I can discuss with others and am tired of my skimmer friends who “know” things by accessing the information highway. They can’t hold a conversation very long and resort to a lot of enthusiastic head-nodding while declaring words like “exactly” and “absolutely”. Artificial intelligence is making people stupid and I’m finding that I’m starting to choose friends who have a real interest in truly knowing things.

  112. Dor says:

    Some folks in the older generation are just as tied to technology, believe it or not. I have 2 blogs – one a commercial one and the other a personal one. I manage 4 Twitter Accounts and talk about needing to change personalities! My other older friends look at me blankly a lot, but I’m hooked and I can remember movie stars names you never heard of. I agree that it is “kinda sad to live on the net, for the net, and by the net”, but maybe it will prevent Alzheimers. 🙂

  113. […] The Information Generation. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Tags technology Categories Art […]

  114. canadiantaxconsulting says:

    Hi. Just researching blogs and am new to WordPress. I found your blog interesting and I share you thoughts regarding the speed of this information age. A colleague of mine, Ray Dinning who is studying Sustainability at Harvard University said that “in today’s modern global marketplace you have to reinvent, reengineer, relearn or innovate every 18 months to three years to remain relevant and up-to-date in our modern world.”

    Anyway, you can check out my blog at Thanks for the info.

  115. Wayne says:

    I like your blog.

    And since I normally have 10 or more tabs per window, I can relate.

    However, I say that most knowledge is neither good, nor evil.

    Knowledge is mostly neutral.

    Intent is where evil begins …. and goodness ends.


  116. novoblogger says:

    Great post! It was very thought provoking. I loved the comparisons you drew between the the two generations. It’s so true, I can see all these differences in my own parents and to an even greater extent in my grandparents. My grandfather once asked me to give him a step by step list on how to sign in to Facebook and get onto his profile page haha. Anyway, I really enjoyed the post.


  117. pragwater says:

    You say that there will be no analogue in the future, only digital. Hmmm, not so sure about that. I play the congas, and there is nothing quite like hitting a drum. Actually, instead of the verb to hit, I prefer the spanish verb “tocar”, which also means to touch, which is more descriptive of what a conga player does. Drumming is truly a primeval force, which I believe is in every one of us. I see this whenever a child runs over to my drums and starts beating on them. Anyhow, there is no way that any electronic drum could provide the satisfaction that a drummer feels when they are playing. However, it very well may be that the listener would be just as happy listing to the digital sound as the real thing, provided that the digital version can produce the rich sounds of a real drum.


  118. SJS says:

    Thanks for your insights about the Information Generation, I found it extremely informative. My WordPress blog about my father’s WWII service (ptboatred) explores the experiences of the so-called “Greatest Generation” and what life has been like for them and their children (the Boomers, like me). As a person who lives between these vast generational extremes, I find that my mind, spirit, and soul are getting stretched all the time in ways I could never have imagined. Thanks for your insights; they’re keeping me alert and flexible. Keep blogging. Steve

  119. I’m guessing I am a member of your parents’ generation. Back in 1971, my senior year in high school, I persuaded my parents to let me forego the expected college prep class in physics for a new offer—computer programming. It was a simplified Fortran language called Watfor and from that introduction I learned the logic behind programming altho I never took that route any further.

    I became the computer “expert” in my first job after college, a laughable concept, but I knew more than everyone else. Later, when I could not afford to buy a computer, I purchased a web tv and then made my foray on to the world wide web.

    Several systems later, of course, and armed with an iPhone, I think I am pretty typical of a almost 60-year-old. Many of us DO manage to get from A to B with our GPS devices. Many of us manage to do more than email. I have several home businesses that are possible only because of the internet and computers.

    One negative side effect from all this access to the web is that people expect instant gratification for everything and patience has indeed become a virtue. Frozen meals that take 3 minutes are annoying to many. Attention spans are short, almost making an ADD flip a normal thing.

    While you may think it is quaint that many of us old timers can read a paper book, sew a dress, paint a landscape, bake a cake from scratch, and/or perform in a musical ensemble, I look at my kids’ generation and hope they do not lose touch with how to sew on a button, prepare a healthy meal from scratch to get away from the additives and preservatives that cause so many health problems, plant a garden and nurture it to harvest.

    The world wide web is great!! Don’t get me wrong. But remember not everything there is truthful and remember to turn it off once in a while and learn to live without it for at least an hour or two of your awake day.

  120. The Kittle Team says:

    A very comprehensive article on how different generation deal with the modern world of Internet, Computer, Tablets and we don;t know what will be the new technology pet in the years to come. I can relate myself to the dial up internet connections we used before and waiting for minutes before a mail application opens, now, it is literally 1 click away. Today’s generation is the most exposed generation of all in technology especially in information available on the internet. When you don’t know something GOOGLE it, if you want to learn, find video tutorials on teaching how exactly to do thing on your own.

    I think today’s generation is maximizing what is available for them and using it to create more and be more productive in the future! Great blog!

  121. Seriously well done. I find it incredibly irritating when people throw themselves onto the “…I think smart phones (or insert other tool that makes data easily accessible) are making us stupid…” soap box. If anything, it’s all making us smarter because we have external places to store not-so-important information, leaving more room for useful knowledge.

  122. Luna Kadampa says:

    The world has changed so much in the last ten years — we’ll probably be trying to figure out whether all this change is good or bad for a long time to come.

    Not only the crazy Greek, but Buddha also said that the root of all evil is ignorance. But he also said that intelligence or knowledge without a good intention is also not helpful, not at all helpful.

    Whether we’re inhabiting the online or offline world, what matters most is what is in our hearts.

  123. Chris says:

    I would like to say something in response. There are no words to describe the necessity of easy access to information, it is a true blessing of our age to be able to get information when desired.

    However, the instant gratification of knowledge acquisition is in a sense devaluing the information. In the past information was passed from generation to generation. This information was earned, there were obvious changes that would happen with age, but the information passed down was honest, and true. Children would listen to their elders since they had the information, which was forged with experience.

    With the instant gratification of the internet, the information is still there, but it is no longer forged in experience. The experience is gone, the information is spewed out by those that have not earned it. It is not fully understand because they have not earned it, they only found it and repackaged it.

    There is nothing wrong with having to earn your knowledge.

    I’ll summarize with an example & quote.

    If you walk down the sidewalk and find a $10 bill. You look around and the sidewalk is bare, someone dropped it. You pick it up and you are happy as you have $10 more than you did before. Alternatively, you could also spend an hour working in your neighbors yard and they give you $10. That $10 you earned has more value than the $10 you found, though they both are worth the same.

    “…lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” Don Williams, Jr.

  124. Vee Ladwa says:

    This was a really good read. I do however believe that people should remain having a hobby based away from the computer and screens that will allow for physical and mental stability…and hopefully provide a way for some of the old technology to live on in the process. The decline and death of the vinyl era is a shame for any music lover, music still sounds great on the old turntables, some things should live on. The downside to all the old stuff is the weight and size of everything, online really cleans it all up.

    Good and bad points for and against but having a library and how to available in the blink of an eye is a wonderful resource. The net has ‘killed’ many wonderful, creative and artist skills and technology but I guess it’s helped save space for storing once physical items now on a digital plane…though I’d never get rid of my vinyl!

    Congrats on the press.


  125. Chad Vice says:

    Is it possible that, because of this connectivity, we are simply the first generation of humans able to collectively resist a movement of this magnitude together? Previous generations had the ability to remain ignorant and believe that it was just them and their six friends that thought that “rock and roll was going to be the death of music.”

    My grandmother recently told me that she can’t believe someday people won’t know what a typewriter is. To which my mental response was, “Why does that matter? Typing does the same thing but much clearer and faster?”

    I think every generation, including this one, will resist the shift of the next.

    Humans by nature fear the unknown and therefore change. So one day, when we feel like the 3-dimensional-virtual-hang-out-sessions with friends who live in Bangladesh and Cambodia is hurting our children’s ability to interact physically face to face with the other kids at their school, maybe they will be telling us how sad and outdated we are.

    Or worse, maybe they will never leave the house to go to school. Maybe they simply choose the school’s server they want to join and learn via an interactive curriculum projected virtually into our own living rooms. Who knows.. who knows..

    • katyj94 says:

      Actually, there are Cyber schools (k-12) which make it so that the kids don’t have to leave home to go to school. Courses are held either live, with a teacher talking to a group of students who have logged into the classrooms online, or work at your own pace, with the books and instructions delivered to you.
      A lot of these Cyber schools will give their class members laptops for use while they’re in school, if not permanently.

  126. He’s not gone! Logue is still with us, and he does digital and regular things. Here’s a link to him:
    I can’t believe you’d say he’s gone.

  127. katyj94 says:

    WOW. This actually reminds me of the time that I made a comment to two of my friends, who are a couple years older than I am, that I had bought a cassette tape. This was only a couple years ago….. I take that back, it was 6 or 7 years ago O.o… and they looked at me like I was insane. Yes, I have a cassette deck on my boombox. No, my boombox does not play mp3 players- my phone and laptop play that music. But hey, I wasn’t gonna pass up music for 25 cents! 🙂

  128. mattthomas44 says:

    Great post. Definitely an interesting read. Check this out…,.

    News, game info and a chance to win a free copy of Mass Effect 3 at…

  129. graphiteSteve says:

    Yeah, awesome. The internet is something I love and am astounded by.

    Just last night I burnt the sh!t out of one of my pots. Relating to what Chris says (a few posts up), I usually would go to the baking soda, which is something my mother taught me, to soak the pot but having none I went to google (which to me goes hand in hand with internet).

    But it got me thinking about what would my mother have done in her day when she wanted an effective way to clean a pot. Would she have consulted a book (which someone would have given her as a housewarming gift, perhaps) or would she have called a friend or her mother. We live in different time and being old enough to remember when the internet was starting it is amazing to think about how far it has come.

    Great article!

  130. darylm1 says:

    Great post, I empathise whole-heartedly! You write very concisely and in a well thought-out manner, this first post of yours I have read is enough to make me want to subscribe to your blog. Looking forward to future posts!


  131. arvinbadiola says:

    and why do i feel a connection with the twenty two year old kid? no okay forget it. you got a really good point there by the way. i get it although i cannot say that i’m as “connected” as you (almost) all the time.

  132. temperedopinions says:

    Now that you’re freshly pressed, you’ll be getting lots of comments.

    According to conventional definitions, I’m a Gen X. I’m connected all the time. Having just gotten my first iPhone, I’m more connected than ever (I already don’t miss my BlackBerry).

    I am not sure about your assessment that analog is going to die. Most recently, my best experiences have been of the analog variety.

    – watching the sunrise from my apartment window
    – spooning up behind my wife in bed trying to get warm
    – having a conversation about colleagues about odd co-worker behaviors
    – flirting with the girls at the local coffee shop

    Honestly, I do know what you mean about feeling lost without being connected. I have occasionally forgotten my phone at home and I quietly go crazy without it.

    However, I have purposely turned it off, just to go “offline” and stay there. Doing it intentionally is the most free I’ve felt in a while.

  133. sheokhanda says:

    personally speaking I love this information age as there are no barriers of any countries and we can interact with people around the world and make friends.

    most importantly now you have an access to information which was tough to find earlier…

    Therefore those who are interested to learn can learn a lot may it be via reading, watching videos or listening to podcast.

    I just love the freedom this age has given us, which I doubt the older generations could experience…..

  134. I am not sure that all this information age is better than the old years.

    How can we digest all this information ?
    What about real socializing ?

  135. I will say that nothing can replace books and the pen, nothing can substitute that, although technology is the cult of revolution. Drop by and have a look at my blog

  136. My life experience in this area has demonstrated to me that this “Tech Thing” in part has destroyed the communication skills of many of our younger generation under 40. In this group of individuals one finds many individuals whose lives are spent in a form of fantasy world. We now have a future generation that may eventually been hooked up to machines and being fed by tubes. Their brains being fed by the internet.

  137. Honie Briggs says:

    If you get a chance to look at my WordPress blog, you will see proof of the very “condition” described here in this post Information Generation. (Which I enjoyed very much for several reasons.) I learned to “type” not keyboard on a state-of-the-art electric typewriter (one of only two at my high school) and by my own admission I am extremely tech challenged despite the fact that much of my professional experience has required computer skills (spreadsheet data entry or word-processing and the occasional PowerPoint thing NOT code writing, widget formatting, RSS feed locating, or any number of other skills of which I suddenly find myself in need.) Although when my own father first began “getting on the internet” as he likes to say, he would send an email to me and then immediately call me to make sure I received it. Now he has just started texting, yes I know, and only yesterday he sent a pic of himself and then called me to make sure I received it. We are comical, we half analog half digital freaks of an era almost gone by, but we should get some credit for making the effort no matter how lame…we are. (do people even say lame anymore?)

  138. kamielverwer says:

    Nice reflection, and I agree (apart from Socrates ont being a “bastard”). You write sentences with a rhythm, sentences that are alive – unlike the dead technology we all use to spread them across the globe.

    Our time is a fascinating time to be alive for sure. As a philosophy PhD turned “rogue” (I work freelance from on the road, I follow the developments of the internet.

    I think it will be more integrated with real life, starting with monetary rewards. You didn’t mention flattr and similar services that allow artists to make a living by just uploading their work to the cloud.

    I think that is revolutionary, when we realize this communication machine is more than a toy.

    • Honie Briggs says:

      Kind of like when those Ford brothers were fooling around and the neighbors got a little irritated with their “toy”? No I wasn’t alive back then, but I am fascinated with the development and evolution of all things that have substance. (not just protons and such) but genuine, relevant, and useful information, people, and things like computers and cars. Odd for a woman, I know.

    • jandrewhickey says:

      I think Socrates would appreciate the jab, given his demeanor and character.

  139. […] This blog post inspired this post. Rate this: Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Mindless Ramblings. and tagged addiction, blog, communication, Facebook, social media, technology, Twitter by Ciera Choate. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  140. codysheehy says:

    Great post and I appreciate your point of view. In the last few years I have been gathering info that is pushing my life philosophy in a bit of a different direction. For me, it seems this complete digital immersion and deluge of information has actually been a cocoon that keeps me from learning and experiencing the world in a deep, satisfying, real way. Growing up inside this cocoon, it has hard to appreciate that the larger world of the “real” outside was actually more complex, varied, and nuanced. Like an armchair adventurer, the digital age had distilled my world into an almost entertainment like experience. Now, I am living on a sailboat, fixing and cussing like your dad, and trying to suck the marrow out of life. The internet is of course a useful tool, but no longer my portal to life a experience. An experience that I hope is as rich and well rounded as my grandparents were lucky enough to experience.

    Thanks for the post. Great read.

  141. sunny says:

    hi ‘faster than light’, congrats 4 cming among FPs!!!!
    it’s a gr8 post…… realy luvd it……. n your 1 view – Soon the distinction between being online and offline will fade. – is definitley smart analysis…..

    v r vry wel muvin towards a world of technology…….n v must b happy abt it…… bt sadly, v r unable to keep d harmful effects at distance………. anyways HOPE FOR THE BEST n njoy al techs in our hand…………
    Happy writing

  142. […] the exception to the rule considering my age. (Read Andrew’s entire post here.) Twenty tabs open. Music playing. Headphones on. Lukewarm coffee on desk. Occasionally, I feel […]

  143. heiperheip0r says:

    I found your blog also on the header.
    Life will be online? Maybe. Then we would need more and more technicians.
    Things will carry on in a different way then anybody expects.
    Thats from my experience.
    Best of luck,

  144. […] your bonus for being good, a viewpoint from the always-on generation. LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  145. A Fettered Mind says:

    I like the way you think and reflect. Surprised, near the end, when you mentioned you are twenty-two. Your words placed you at about twenty-eight, to my mind anyway. I have a son almost twenty but feel out of sync with the way you describe your parents generation.

    Keep writing whatever comes to your mind!

  146. knudsens says:

    Good post. I’m online all the time, both at work and at home. And I feel a little naked without an internet connection. Beeing online is a must for me, i can’t go one day whitout beeing online.

  147. […] An interesting post about generations and changing technologies […]

  148. Ziane says:

    I agree with you man. 100% true we just don’t face the facts

  149. I have to take exception with most of the comments herein expressed.

    If you mean to say that society (as a whole) has benefited from the discovery of digital technology and its application, I would agree. But this post does so in a most demeaning manner by dumping on your parents’ generation rather hard, saying: 1. “Older people are always talking, or always listening” (as if they did nothing else), and rarely on the computer (as if there was nothing else); 2. Older people “can get lost in a conversation” often forgetting “bits of information”—as if this didn’t happen to most people at some time regardless of age; and 3. Remarking there’s “a laudable simplicity about them” because they don’t spend as much of their time on a computer as the younger generation does.

    Your parents may not belong to the digital age, but who is to say they “don’t really belong in the digital world?” Did you ever consider that this article adjudicates your parents’ generation based on what a younger generation does, as if judging the standards of one culture by another, let alone one person by another’s actions? Was it ever considered that “their conversations lack something” because of being “too connected” to the Internet and not to what’s going on in the next room? Hearing is not the same as listening.

    I personally have never found the younger generation to be stupid; however, through this article, you definitely express its “impatience.”

  150. e6n1 says:

    The only constant is change. Great article!

  151. Suraj says:

    Great article, Grats on making it to freshly pressed !!

  152. whatsaysyou says:

    You have written a great article and I agree that analogue things are definitely going to become things of the past. It is true that everything is getting digitized.

  153. amira says:

    this is a great post. i guess almost all bloggers, all in our generation,
    would share common thoughts.
    simply put, as you say “There will be no offline, and thus, no online.”

    similar thoughts were going through my mind a few years back and i wrote:
    but your post i like better 🙂

  154. […] så väl! Jag är den typiska invandraren till den digitala världen, mina barn är infödingarna. Läs här och begrunda! Jag håller med författaren. Share this:MerLike this:GillaBli först att gilla denna […]

  155. nicoletheron says:

    I have to raise my voice for instruments…I am a pianist (mostly) but I play many other instruments, my husband is a drummer, we are both really plugged in, and love the instant connection to information that the internet, and our devices offer us…but there can never be a replacement for real, wood and string instruments! I hope that the future generations don’t seek to replace what came before, and show by example how to bring the analog and digital worlds into harmony.

  156. sid says:

    nice blog! its totally true 😀

  157. kloppendhard says:

    I think within a few years there will be no more generation gap anymore if you over look the media evolution flow… I think it’s great to live in a time that you can compare the data generation with the 1.0 generation. Enjoying the best of both worlds like visiting a concert flip pages but share this stuff realtime anytime, anywhere with anybody! Nice blog and great to share thoughts about it!

  158. annewhitaker says:

    “Occasionally, I feel less like a person, and more like an amoeba that feeds on tweets, notifications, and followers….”.

    Quite. Amidst all the joy of contemporary connectedness, your statement above reveals quite starkly the paradoxical shadow side, ie the diminution of our humanity.

    Nevertheless a brilliant, insightful, reflective post – and stunning images!

  159. kennysntv says:

    I just found your post and I like your insight on the changing of an analog generation to digital.

  160. teepoo says:

    It’s crazy how much I’m addicted to information. I use Twitter a lot and when I’m a few hours away from stream, I feel like I have missed a world of news.

  161. We are definately not idiots and much like the rate of technology our generation is continously upgrading and reinventing the next big thing. Great read and wonderful vantage point!! ♥

  162. SlappyGrind Entertainment says:

    Uncanny on how it seems the thoughts of what appears our generation is, dial-up and geocities. I remember those days as if yesterday. Even more so now that I’m utterly in anticipation to see what my part in the information hwy has accumulated. I look toward to reading more of your work.

  163. […] article n’est qu’une traduction de celui-ci. Merci de le créditer si vous le citez, je n’en suis pas propriétaire. Cependant, […]

  164. sitcom7 says:

    Reblogged this on Sitcom7's Blog.

  165. amberpat says:

    I think every generation just evolves in different circumstances that occur in the world. Our time line just goes in rotation. The samething occurs but just with a different technique or resource.

  166. I am “on the Internet” for a long time … this is very revealing!
    I begin to follow!

  167. thefieldmouse says:

    A few weeks ago, I was watching a movie and trying to think of some B-list actor’s name. Like a reflex, I automatically got up to check IMDB. Then I promptly sat down again. For some odd reason, I wanted to remember it myself.

    Eventually I got sidetracked and began to wonder — what is having all this information at my fingertips doing to my neurology? If my parents want to remember something they sit there going, “It’s uh” (snaps fingers) “uh — you know –” (snaps fingers again) “it’s — that guy from –” and that just goes on and on until they figure it out. There’s no ready information. No instant gratification. And it seems like they’re actually exercising whatever function in the brain relates to memory (I could look that up right now, but for the sake of brevity, I won’t :)). Whereas when I check IMDB, I’m doing the opposite. I’m not exercising recall at all.

    It kinds of freaks me out. What does it mean not to have to exercise our memories? Unlike our parents’ generation, we are literally inundated with information — do we even have the neurological capacity to store/retrieve it all? As the lines blur, it’s definitely something I’m thinking about. I’m also still checking IMDB when necessary 🙂

  168. TheChronicR says:

    I am beginning to think that all this technology is bad. I mean, sure, it’s good to have absolute power over anything you do, say, or write. But at the same time I don’t want us to turn into mechanical being a.k.a. robots. I want everything to be in proportion. Having said that, I can’t help but notice that I spend 7 hours each day on the internet while my mum spends this same time watching TV or browsing the net herself. I hate this. And I don’t want my kids to be humanoids and not pure humans. I don’t. Great post.

  169. Studio Vivid says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post and I thought I’d share with you this animation I saw today about ‘cyber utopianism’ which I think you’ll find interesting

    Please do check out my blog sometime: 🙂

  170. […] For those of you that haven’t read my original piece, you can do so here. […]

  171. clutterbuddies says:

    cool but arrogant

  172. thewizdyme says:

    You’re post is a sad truth. Technology, specifically the A.D.D catalyst known as ‘the internet’ has ruined most of us. –Moore’s law versus actual pages in a book. And the winner is…?

  173. bharathcs says:

    I feel that we must not let this die out. We Must progress but never, ever forget the past.

  174. Joeri says:

    I was reading like wooow i don’t understand this but after reading 3 times I totaly agree with you

  175. SchinTeth says:

    Cool post, thanks for sharing your thoughts

  176. It is so hard in this days not to stay at the computer…Sometimes people forget to do something else, that isn’t about facebook, wifi, twitter, wii and so on. I appreciate your post. Keep on sharing your ideeas.

  177. barrymade says:

    as a writer, I like your writing 😀 keep it up!

  178. Great post, though I have to take you up on the sentence that begins,”To an outsider, typically someone over forty…” – I am 46, and if you were in my apartment right now you would see the exact same scenario, including the lukewarm cup of coffee….

    • jandrewhickey says:

      Haha, that makes me happy, and feel a bit silly. In my response post I talk more about having to come up with “age-labels”, which, while useful, are often inaccurate.

  179. As an engineer who in great part appreciates the digital revolution, in the end it is really just a tool. To assume the world will go totally digital and analog devices will die a quiet death ignores that fact the universe itself is analog to start with. Sound is analog. Humans make it digital for convenience purposes, then turn it back into analog so we can hear it again. MP3 sound really sucks compared to it’s analog original. It cracks me up that technologies are being created to make music lifelike, when we had analog stereos 20-30 years ago that did it better. If you don’t believe me, compare a MP3 version of piece of music to the original analog recording. Tweeting might be fun, but it does not replace a face-to-face conversation. As people move into the working world, they will learn that most interactions of importance are done through verbal conversation. The airlines do a great business in business travel because these kinds of human interaction is vital to what we do. Wikipedia is a useful place to begin research. But, if you try to use it a reference in a Master’s Thesis expect to be reprimanded for your laziness. The digital revolution is capable to amazing things as recently seen in the Middle East. However, the vast majority of what I see and hear people doing with it is a waste of time.

  180. the agnostik says:

    Yet there’s the chance we all get driven to a global riot, unplugging ourselves massively or being censored (again), anyway things are getting faster everyday. just thinking out loud; going back to analog mode. eot.

  181. soyouwanna says:

    Great article, however I do have to partially debate your closing paragraph. I almost think that the information age with all of its technology has lowered our potential for doing great things. I think we’ve almost been stunted by the fact that we have access to so much, we say “look at what we have, we are by far the most accomplished”, when in reality we should be using the tools that we do have to do even greater things. Instead of remembering facts, we remember how to go back and find those facts, our memory is certainly not what it used to be. There was a time when stories were passed down almost to the word just by hearing the story told over and over again. Secret recipes were secret, they were never written down in some place only a few select people knew about. And while it may seem like we are accomplishing a lot more, its because we do have access to the technology. Imagine what people like Newton, Einstein, or even Leibniz could have accomplished had they had access to the tools we have access to today.

  182. shil says:

    Superb insight. I would however say that being more digitized has made us all loners and we all somehow feel stunted when put in a social situation with other people. We don’t read real books anymore, we don’t enjoy situations where we can’t access the net like the great outdoors. Wouldn’t you agree ?

  183. Angelene @Languages Of Art says:

    Wow! Nice:D

  184. Ughhh I agree. I’m in my early 20s and I can remember progressing from “ye olde dial up” to my current wifi. I think what’s amazing is how bored we get with information and have to constantly find new things.

  185. Congrats on Freshly Pressed. Interesting topic for sure. Over the holidays I’m going to try and take a “technology break”– hopefully I can keep my iphone turned off and in my bag for a few days. We shall see….


  186. kathrinjapan says:

    As connected as we appear to become in the cyberworld, we become that much more un-connected in the real world. We have no choice in the fact that change is constant. Your blog is clear and well-written. I only wish it were a little less “them versus us” because in the end, you end up there too.

  187. I found your blog really interesting for me. As an engineering student, I’m really wondering why all of these things are happening.. just as different before compared to the past times.

  188. This is a very cool and interesting post!

  189. mmmmm so interesting isn’t it?

  190. […] This post was also influenced by a post on Faster Than Light, entitled, the Information Generation. […]

  191. HAS says:

    I like the art included here – I was looking at “google” images of Light and the Radio Silence piece displayed and led me to your post.

    Connectedness seems positive. I can read all of your posts and comments – have no idea who or where you are but have shared ideas and opinions (sort of). Can watch/read/listen to/participate in millions of independent creative projects and keep up-to-the-minute and count on a sliding scale of accuracy regarding endless world issues and events – also sharing my opinion – (is my opinion really that important?) Can instantly satisfy my desire (addiction) for answers to any question – don’t need to talk to anyone or rely on a “neighbor”‘s experience – creatively, collectively piecing together memories or solving a problem together in more than two dimensions.

    What about that connectedness with – or even awareness of – the person next to you? I have enough trouble with that to begin with. At 42, more than half of my life was lived before cell phone culture developed. I remember when my, or your, particular taste in cheeky jingles or popular music wasn’t broadcast randomly – and in disturbingly low fidelity – in every possible public space. I remember when I could shop for shoes without listening to Mrs. Jones discussing her candida infection, or buy coffee without being assaulted by Joe’s frantic argument with his divorce lawyer. I think people are beginning to come to understand more etiquette in this regard – but my “air space” will never be the same. Oh well. It is nice to be able to call AAA when necessary.

    I’ve been waiting a long time for internet phones – although I have yet to buy one because at this point I can’t justify the bills. I’m particularly sucked in by the iPad though…. someday…

    Here’s where I really see a non-positive effect of this connectedness vs nonconnectedness – and many particularly “older” people who have posted here seem to agree:
    Children, teens and many young adults ask me for help at my job (Librarian) and instantly resort back to their device to check status or text while they wait for me to serve up a response. It’s as if I am an electronic interface and they are waiting for the page with the answer to load. Sorry – especially if they are younger, I ask them to put the device aside while I’m helping them. I ask for their full attention because I am giving them my full attention.

    Another example – and who knows, maybe this isn’t a non-positive – it just looks really stupid and sad to me:
    At a small rock club one night I was having fun outside with my friends, waiting for the next band to go on stage. Three men in their 20s were also outside waiting. Each stood several feet away from the other, heads bowed, phone in hand – texting. What? Weird. I see this behavior a lot where young people gather. Like at coffee houses and movie theaters.
    Not sure what this says…

    Long reply. Thanks for the article and opportunity to prattle on! See – internet good!

  192. oakritchie says:

    Thank you for the amusing post!

    I definitely agree with a lot of the sentiments about access to information and understanding the tools at our disposal. That being said, I do think that there’s an important difference between information/data and knowledge. Knowledge is gained through practical experience with the data which informs the person using the data more of the nuances of the reality of that information. The vast wealth of data available doesn’t substitute the need to evaluate carefully whether the data in question is valid or valuable, and often in our present cocoons of information we don’t have the time or presence of mind to engage the generation and application of knowledge.

    For everything, there’s a balance…

  193. […]Here are a number of the web pages we advise for our visitors[…]

  194. […] source: Faster Than Light, “The Information Generation” […]

  195. Mittie says:

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading?

    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

    • hljorge says:

      Too many people who don’t post love insulting in comments. In our confused and corrupt world the only reference is our ethic. If you trust in yours go on my friend.

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